Hinds defeats top-ranked JCJC to claim Region 23 crown

JCJC Athletics Press Release

ELLISVILLE – A five-run seventh inning proved to be the difference in the Region 23 Tournament championship game.

The Hinds Community College Eagles broke open a 2-2 tie with the five-spot and went on to defeat the top-ranked Jones County Junior College Bobcats 7-4 here on a beautiful Sunday afternoon at Community Bank Park.

The victory sends the Eagles, 35-19, to the NJCAA Division II World Series May 24-31 in Enid, Oklahoma.

The Bobcats end the year at 46-11, which matches the school record for victories in a single season, which was set in 2011.

It was the 10th meeting of the season between the Bobcats and Eagles with the teams going 5-5 vs. each other.

Hinds, the home team in the game, sent 10 batters to the plate in the seventh.

Brian Mills, the nine-hole hitter, led off with a line drive single to center. Quade Smith then chopped the ball over third baseman Josh Pankratz's glove into left field for a single and Mills advanced to third on the play. Matt Jones then flied out to centerfielder Chris Morgan and Mills stayed at third.

Luke Reynolds then chopped the ball just over the glove of first baseman Jordan Stark into the rightfield corner for a two-run double, giving the Eagles a 4-2 lead. Caleb Upton then singled to make it 5-2.

After Chase Lunceford walked, Marshall Boggs singled to load the bases. Curt Chism was then hit by a pitch to force home Upton. Casey Echols then sneaked a single up the middle to drive in another run. Cole Barlow then induced a double play ground ball by Mills to end the inning.

The Bobcats went quietly in the top of the eighth, but made some noise in the ninth.

Carter Polles led off with a single and advanced to second on a groundout by Stephen Stiglets.

Morgan then doubled in Polles to make it 7-3. Trent Giambrone then singled to score Morgan and make it 7-4. Tyler Graves was then hit by a pitch to bring the tying run to the plate with just one out.

But reliever Austin Sanders got Stark on a fly ball to right and struck out Chase Hensley to end the game.

Hinds took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first when leadoff batter Smith was hit by a pitch and was balked to second. Reynolds then grounded to Stiglets at shortstop, who threw to Pankratz at third base in attempt to get Smith, but it was too late. Upton then doubled Smith home.

The Eagles added a run in the second when Echols doubled and Mills singled to put runners at first and third. A suicide squeeze by Smith scored Echols.

JCJC got on the board in the fourth when Graves reached on an error to start the inning and Stark followed with a single. After Hensley flied out, Shermer's single drove in Graves to make it 2-1. Pankratz then hit a liner to second that was caught for out number two and Polles flied out to right to end the inning.

The Bobcats would tie the game in the top of the seventh.

Polles reached on a two-base error to start the inning. Stiglets then tried to sacrifice, but the Eagles threw Polles out at third base.

Morgan then drew a walk and Giambrone followed with an RBI single to make it 2-2. Graves then popped out to short and Stark flied out to deep left to end the inning.

Shermer doubled and singled twice, while Giambrone had three singles for the Bobcats. Morgan added a double with Stark, Polles and Stiglets each getting singles.

Westin Stringer went the first 4 1/3 innings, allowed two earned runs, three hits, walked two and struck out five. Daniel Goff then pitched 1 2/3 innings and gave up one hit. Will Hazen went 1/3 of an inning, was charged with five runs (all earned), four hits and walked one. Barlow pitched 2/3 of an inning, allowed no runs and two hits. Perry Turner pitched final inning, allowing one hit.

Casey Sutton went the first seven innings for the Eagles and posted the victory. He gave up two runs (one earned), six hits, walked two and struck out five. Michael Jolly went 1 1/3 innings, allowed two earned runs, four hits and struck out one. Sanders pitched the final 2/3 of an inning and notched a strikeout.

Reynolds, Echols and Upton each doubled and singled for Hinds. Mills had a pair of singles, while Smith, Lunceford and Boggs added singles.