By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
BOONEVILLE – ICC’s team bus to Sunday’s baseball doubleheader at Northeast was scheduled to leave Fulton at 10 a.m.
Joseph Koon was an hour early.
“I was ready to go, I couldn’t wait any longer,” said the Indians’ sophomore right-handed pitcher.
Northeast probably wishes Koon, ICC’s ace from Tupelo, had missed his ride. He scattered four hits, struck out four, walked one and pitched his second shutout of the season to lead the Indians to a 5-0 victory over the Tigers in the opening game of their MACJC North Division sweep at Harold T. White Field.
The win marked Koon’s eighth complete game effort in 11 starts. He has an 11-1 record with a 2.16 ERA.
“I think I’ve been pretty steady,” said the Southeastern Louisiana signee, who used his change-up effectively. “We’re playing our best baseball now. That’s what you want at the end of the season.”
ICC got back-to-back solid pitching efforts against the Tigers, as sophomore right-hander Will Irvin fired a four-hit shutout with three strikeouts in the Indians’ 4-0 win.
“We’ve got two good pitchers,” ICC coach Rick Collier said, then smiled. “We could use a fresh arm like Irvin’s at playoff time. That’s a pretty good deal.”
Irvin (2-1), an Auburn signee, missed two months of the season with a sprain of his triceps tendon. He has pitched 18 scoreless innings since his return.
“My fastball and change-up were working well today,” said the Bolivar, Tenn., hurler, whose fastball is clocked in the low 90s. “My arm tightens up a little every now and then, but I can deal with that.
“It was terrible not getting to pitch. I’m glad I’m back and I hope I can stay healthy.”
ICC (28-14) took a giant step towards winning the division. The Indians are now 17-5 in the league with one doubleheader remaining – on Saturday – against the one team that could catch them, Holmes.
Northeast remains in postseason contention despite falling to 23-23 overall and to 13-7 in the division.
“You don’t score, you don’t win,” Tigers coach Kent Farris said. “We pitched well enough to win. We had opportunities to get runs in and we didn’t. They did. It was as simple as that.”
Colby Moore doubled and belted a solo home run to pace ICC’s eight-hit attack against Northeast starter Brandon Farley (3-5).
In the second game, Irvin helped his cause with a solo home run in the fifth. Ladarrius Cole added three singles.