From press reports
FULTON – Itawamba Community College’s state championship baseball season came to an end this (Friday) afternoon at the Region 23 Tournament in Eunice, LA. The 4th ranked Indians were eliminated by the same team, Holmes, that it defeated soundly twice last week in the state semi-finals and championship contests in Raymond.
After defeating the Bulldogs in its first six matchups this year, ICC was stunned after giving up 10 runs in the bottom of the sixth to lose, 10-0. Eight of those tallies were unearned.
MACJC Coach of the Year, Rick Collier of Itawamba, went with reliever Justin Bryant on the hill for his first start on the mound since late February and the Auburn signee didn’t disappoint his head coach by throwing a two-hit shutout after five innings. Unfortunately, the Indians hadn’t scored either as once again ICC, who left 11 on base in the opening round 9-8 loss to Hinds, left a handful of runners in scoring position without notching a single run against Holmes starter Brandon McHenry.
It appeared the Indians would score first in the top of the sixth when first team all-state selection Josh Chism led off the frame with a single and Bryant’s double down the leftfield line put runners on second and third with no outs. But McHenry retired Dustin Lunn on a ground out to second, Nate Coleman on a sharp hit line drive right at the shortstop, Brian Higbee, and Clint Alford, who went five for five in the opener, flew out to center to end the threat.
Bryant actually struck out the leadoff hitter in the bottom of the sixth, but an error on Itawamba third baseman Jake Sloan put a runner on first. The All-Region 23 and all-state standout then walked the next batter and after a rbi single, Collier went to the bullpen to bring in Chism and an error by Bryant at second kept the momentum flowing for Holmes and three run scoring doubles and three more run producing singles later, the nationally-ranked Indians’ season was over.
amp”That obviously was not the way we wanted this season to come to an end,amp” said Collier, whose club finished 43-13 on the campaign. amp”But this is a team that will be remembered for a long time. It’s tough to come back week after week emotionally.amp”
Collier also praised his sophomore class for winning 80 games in two seasons and losing only 28, while capturing a pair of north division titles and winning just the fourth state baseball title in school history, not to mention rallying to take two games from Pearl River in one day to advance past the first round of the state playoffs earlier this month.
amp”That was a special sophomore class and most of them will be playing somewhere next year,amp” said Collier. amp”We will miss each and every one of them.amp”