By David Wheeler/Special to the NEMS Daily Journal
NEW ALBANY – In a Saturday night phone conversation with Golden Triangle Jets coach Garrett Harris, Chandler Hawkins said he maybe could pitch a couple innings today.
That was after throwing a seven-inning complete game on Thursday.
Then after the Jets forced a deciding second game in the Cotton States League championship today, Hawkins said he might could pitch a couple more innings.
Then the Arkansas State sophomore delivered.
Hawkins hurled 10 innings on Sunday, helping the Jets to a surprising 4-2 victory in the deciding game of the Cotton States championship tournament in the college division.
“I can’t say enough about him,” Harris said. “I called him last night after we won, and he said he felt pretty good, so I said come on down.
“Then he asked for the ball after the fifth inning. Then he asked for the ball in Game 2. Arkansas State has a gamer.”
Hawkins day of work began with three innings of relief work to earn a save as the Jets won the first game of the championship 8-5 over the Tippah Tribe, forcing a second game to determine the Cotton States championship.
Out went Hawkins to the mound in the bottom of the first inning of Game 2, throwing no-hit ball into the sixth inning of the contest.
Hawkins eventually allowed three hits in his seven-inning victory, while striking out eight.
“I was just expecting to throw in relief today,” said Hawkins, a Bartlett, Tenn., native. “After the first game, my arm was still feeling all right, so I said I could throw an inning or two in the second game.
“After each inning, coach asked me how I felt. I just came to this league to get some innings, and stay close to home. I guess it worked out OK.”
In Game 2, the Jets scored three unearned runs off Tribe starter Beau Cummings from Myrtle, including RBI hits by Phillip Correro and Collin Dexter of Tupelo.
Tyler Dixon had two RBI in the Game 1 for the Jets.
The Jets were the bottom seed of the double-elimination tournament, and lost their first game in the tournament.