Earnest’s gem salvages split

By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal

FULTON – It was the second game of a doubleheader on a brisk night.
It was only the second North Division contest of the season.
But the Itawamba Community College Indians needed the complete game performance sophomore Dylan Earnest of Hamilton turned in Tuesday.
Earnest scattered three hits and got out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the seventh inning to help ICC to a 3-1 victory over the East Mississippi Lions.
“After the first game loss, for the team to bounce back, for Dylan Earnest to do the job he did, it turned a bad day into a decent day,” Itawamba head coach Rick Collier said. “We have a lot of young guys in the lineup, and this got the situational nerves out of them.”
After allowing a first inning single, the left hander retired 16 in-a-row until the seventh.
But in that frame, East Mississippi (11-11, 1-1) loaded the bases with no outs on a walk and two hits. A fielders choice and error plated a run for the Lions, then Tupelo’s Cody Shrewsberry made a nice running catch in right field as Earnest induced three straight outs to get out of the jam.
The contribution of the Indians (9-9, 1-1) offense began in the third inning as Jake Smith led off with a single, advanced to second base, then scored on a Jacob Shempert single. Shempert later stole two bases, scoring on an overthrow to third for a 2-0 lead.
In the fifth, Austin Welch singled, Brayden Owen doubled, and Ben Hudspeth connected on an RBI single to put ICC up 3-0.
Itawamba is at Northwest Saturday.
In Game 1, the Lions capitalized on five ICC turnovers to win 7-1.