INDIANS SWEEP TIGERS
By TODD VINYARD
FULTON For the first time in his 14-year, 348-win career Itawamba baseball coach Roy Cresap felt sorry about a victory.
Cresap’s Indians managed only three hits while committing six errors, but came out on top 5-4 Wednesday over Northeast. The win completed a doubleheader sweep which started with a 6-5 win.
“I have never apologized for a win, but I did today,” Cresap said. “When you have more errors than hits you should not win. But we did.”
There have been plenty of “but we dids” for the Indians, winners of 19 out of their last 25 games. Wednesday’s games provided proof that Itawamba, the North Division leader, is on a roll.
In game two, after being held hitless for five innings, ICC scored four runs in the seventh with the winning run coming off a bases-loaded walk. Itawamba came from two runs down in the first game to win when center fielder Brad Hooker scored from first on a throwing error after an attempted sacrifice bunt.
“We just believe we should win games,” Hooker said. “Going into the seventh inning down we knew some way we were going to win it. Alex (Williams) got the bunt down and the throw was off so I scored.”
Poor defense and no timely hitting, not luck, were the reasons for two Northeast losses, Tiger coach Ray Scott said.
“We just didn’t make the plays when we had to and they did,” he said. “Good teams find a way to win games, and they are a very good team right now.”
The two ICC wins overshadowed good starting pitching performances by Northeast’s Michael Hopper and Drew Dickerson.
Hopper beat the Indians 5-1 on a one-hitter March 11. He struggled early in the first game as Itawamba’s Phil Webb, who went 2-for-3, doubled in a run and scored on a Ben Ashley double. When Ashley scored on a wild pitch the Indians led 3-0.
Northeast came back to tie it 3-3 in the second on a Neil Lollar sacrifice and Jesse Morris double. The Tigers took the lead in the fourth as Brian Kincheloe came in after a bases-loaded walk and then Lollar made it 5-3 by scoring on a William Brandy sacrifice fly.
Itawamba got a run each in the fourth and sixth innings before Hooker scored from first after a Gabe Dicianni throwing error on a bunt.
“To beat a pitcher like Hopper you have to get a break and we did,” Cresap said.
While Hopper is the Tigers’ ace, Dickerson, a freshman out of Alcorn Central High School, looked strong himself, only allowing a single through six innings in the second contest.
“Drew threw well. We just didn’t give him enough help,” Scott said.
Leading 4-2 in the seventh inning, Northeast (14-19 overall, 4-8 in the North Divsion) intentionally walked Webb to pitch to Chad Magers. While Magers is hitting .415, he was 0-for-6 at the time. A Magers double down the left field line scored Webb to make it 4-3. Four walks later ICC (20-13 overall, 10-3 division) had pulled two more runs and a win out of the hat.
“Chad just hit a missile,” Cresap said shaking his head. “We came through.”
Itawamba 6, Northeast 5
Northeast 030 200 0 5 6 3
Itawamba 300 101 1 6 7 1
WP – Landon Reed (1-5). LP – Michael Hopper (5-2). Multiple Hits – (N) Jesse Morris 2, (I) Brad Hooker 2, Phil Webb 2; 2B – (N) Morris, (I) Webb, Ben Ashley.
Itawamba 5, Northeast 4
Northeast 110 001 1 4 7 1
Itawamba 100 000 4 5 3 6
WP – Landon Reed (2-5). LP – Rob Scarbrough (0-2). Multiple Hits – (N) Jason Scott 3, Will Bandy 2; 2B – (I) Chad Brazeal, Chad Magers; Records: Northeast (14-19 overall, 4-8 North Division), Itawamba (20-13 overall, 10-3 North Division).
Notes: Northeast host Mississippi Delta at 1 p.m. Saturday. Itawamba’s next game is at Coahoma Saturday at 2 p.m.