RAYMOND – It may be better to be lucky than good, but the Itawamba Community College baseball team was a little bit of both Thursday night.
The No. 4-ranked Indians looked good as they jumped out to a 10-run lead and were lucky in the form of a game-winning walk to earn a 14-13 win against host Hinds (33-16) in the opening round of the MACJC State Tournament.
The Indians (41-11) advance to the semifinals against Holmes at 3 p.m. today. Holmes beat Jones 7-5.
ICC scored five runs in the first. Nate Coleman had the big hit in the inning, a three-run homer over the left field wall. Down 6-0, the Eagles bounced back in the fourth, scoring three times off ICC starter Josh Chism.
The Indians looked like they had the game wrapped up after scoring twice in the bottom of the fourth and five in the fifth to take a commanding 13-3 lead.
Hinds trailed 13-6 heading into the top of the ninth. Chism started the ninth but was replaced before giving up an out as ICC coach Rick Collier called on Justin Bryant.
The Auburn signee gave up seven runs on seven hits. Chism, who stayed in the game at second base, was brought back to the mound with ICC leading 13-12.
Neil Barton came through for Hinds with a game-tying single before Chism could get out of the inning.
“This is one of those games where you just have to keep battling and playing hard,” Collier said. “The good thing is we came away with the win and stayed in the winners bracket.”
ICC started the ninth with a single by Wesley McCullough. Lige Mitchell hit a double down the right field line, giving the Indians runners at second and third with one out.
Cole was walked to load the bases for Chism. Chism battled to get a full count and drew the game-winning walk.
“I was glad to see us respond after giving up the momentum,” Collier said. “This isn’t how you draw it up, but when it comes down to tournament play you take wins no matter how they come.”
For ICC, Ladarrius Cole went 3-for-5 including two doubles and two RBIs. Bryant did his part at the plate, going 4-for-5 with an RBI. Clint Alford had a pair of hits, including a solo home run.
Mark Beason/Special to the Daily Journal