ICC, Northeast tangle with North title at stake

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Today’s scheduled state community college North Division baseball doubleheader between rivals Itawamba and Northeast could use a little rain, just not a lot.
Northeast coach Kent Farris, who watched his club commit 12 errors in Wednesday’s doubleheader split against Jones at Booneville City Park, said his team’s dry turf could use a good sprinkle.
“The field is hard, like playing on asphalt,” Farris said. “It’s extremely dry. I know it contributed to the errors we made.”
Jones made nine errors in 16 innings of play.
Northeast and ICC head into today’s 1 p.m. scheduled start in Booneville watching the weather forecast, one that calls for rain. However, because the playing field is so dry and the infield is covered with a tarp, the Tigers showdown against the Indians could survive a short rain.
“We’re keeping an eye on the weather; it can change drastically this time of year,” Farris said. “I’ve got to let the umpires know by 10 (a.m.) and ICC is planning to leave at 10.”
If the games are postponed, they will be played Sunday or Monday.
ICC (26-14) leads the division race with a 15-5 league record while the Tigers (23-21) are within striking distance at 13-5 in division play.
The Indians wrap up their division schedule at home next Saturday, hosting Holmes in a doubleheader. The Tigers have two series remaining – Tuesday at Holmes and Saturday at home against Mississippi Delta.
“The thing I like is we hold our destiny in our hands,” Farris said. “We don’t have to rely on anbody. We’ve got to be able to go out there and take care of business on the field.”
The top four teams in the MACJC North and top four from the South will play best-of-three series May 7-8. The four winners will play in the state tournament May 13-15 at a North site.
In Wednesday play, Northeast defeated Jones, the South co-leader, 14-11, then lost 8-5 in the second game. ICC swept Coahoma, a winless 0-18 in the division, 14-0 and 12-3.
ICC is led on the mound by right-hander Joseph Koon (10-1, 3.09 ERA), a sophomore from Tupelo. Sophomore infielder Jake Sloan, Hatley, and outfielder Ladarrius Cole, Nettleton, lead the team in hitting with .382 averages.
Northeast looks to two sophomore right-handers – Brandon Farley (3-5) of Cookeville, Tenn., and Brad Luna (5-4) of New Albany. Another sophomore, outfielder Michael Collie of Houston, Tenn., is the team’s top hitter.