By David Wheeler
Itawamba Community College head coach Rick Collier has strong sentiments about how well his baseball team is swinging the bat right now – so well, they might as well play some important games.
“This is a real good time to start playing division games,” he said.
That begins today when teams in the MACJC open division play.
“We’re starting to swing the bats real good as of late,” said Collier, whose Indians are a strong 13-3 at the moment. “At first I expected a whole bunch from our arms, but our hitting has picked it up as of late.”
Itawamba, which jumped into the NJCAA Top 20 at No. 11, opens on the road today at Gulf Coast (11-5), with Game 1 of the doubleheader at 2 p.m.
Entering this spring break week, ICC was batting .354 as a team, with Collier liking the current strokes of Hagan Box, Tyreque Reed (Houlka), and Austin Carpenter (Belmont). Both Reed (.512) and Carpenter (.476) began the week with five home runs each.
Collier expects to start J.T. Salters (2-0) and Steffon Moore (2-1) from West in this doubleheader.
The Northeast Tigers (7-9) also eagerly await the opening of division play, on the road today at Hinds (10-4).
“When we play good, we play good, we’ve just got to cut down on the big innings and finish games,” Northeast head coach Richy Harrelson said. “It’s like a 28-game season now.”
Hot bats right now in the eye of Harrelson include Garrison Howell (Houston), Josh Stillman (New Hope), and J. D. Poss (Amory). Pitching today for the Tigers should be Stillman and Ryan Wesson (Baldwyn).
“Going into division, what you’ve done up until now really doesn’t matter,” Harrelson said. “We just have to go into division and take care of us.”