By Daniel Brunty The Winston County Journal
The Nanih Waiya Warriors baseball team is once again looking to achieve the ultimate goal of winning a state championship. A step toward that goal was capturing the Class 1A Region 5 division title again for the second season in a row. The Warriors, 10-0 in division play, are reaping the benefits of their fruit as they received a first-round bye for their positioning in the standings. This will give the Warriors ample time to prepare for their second round playoff series later this week. Nanih Waiya finished off their regular season schedule this past week by hosting Class 2A Lake on Apr. 19. The Warriors played hard against a good Lake team, but fell short to the Hornets by a score of 11-8. Up next for the Warriors will be a second round playoff series against the Ethel Tigers. The first game of the series will be played at Nanih Waiya on Apr. 26. The second game of the series will take place at Ethel on Apr. 27. If a third game is necessary, it will be played at Nanih Waiya on Apr. 28. The Louisville Wildcats wrapped up their season on Apr. 14 by hosting the Ackerman Indians in a non-division contest. The Wildcats were able to defend their home field as they went on to a 13-3 victory over the Indians. The Wildcats finished their season 9-14 overall and 4-6 in division play. They finished in the #4 position in the Class 4A Region 4 standings, just one position away from earning a playoff berth. Louisville would like to recognize its senior players, C.J. Bates and Brent Logan, for their hard work and dedication to the team. The Wildcats will be looking for big things next season, losing only two seniors to graduation. The Noxapater Tigers finished up their regular season by hosting East Oktibbeha on Apr. 13. Noxapater would go on to end their season on a positive by breaking their losing streak with a 15-7 victory over the Titans. Noxapater would finish their season in the #5 position in Class 1A Region 5 standings, just short of an advancing spot for postseason play. Noxapter finished the season 4-12 overall and 2-7 in division play. The Tigers would like to recognize their seniors, Jordan Shoens, Maxey Parker, Zach Kemp, Ethan Hamilton, Hunter Collins, and Sam Gunnin for their contributions to the team during their time. Noxapater can look toward to next season, where they will have a good number of returning players and added experience. ECCC Diamond Warriors Split Twin Bill at Jones County Fred Hampton’s two run double and Kyle Henson’s RBI following a groundout in the top of the fifth inning snapped a 6-6 tie and led to East Central Community College’s 9-6 victory over Jones County Junior College in the first of two matchups played Friday, April 20 on the Ellisville campus. The Diamond Warriors were unable to complete the sweep and were blanked 8-0 in the nightcap. With the split, EC’s record stands at 24-18 overall and 11-9 in the MACJC South Division. Tim Anderson of Hillcrest (Ala.) High School belted a triple and a single and collected four RBIs to lead EC’s offense in the opener. Anderson also scored a run.
In addition to Anderson and Hampton, a Nanih Waiya product, other hitters were Kalik May of Tuscaloosa County, Carlos Leal and Ricardo Velez, both of Puerto Rico, Xavier Franklin of Newton County and David McAdory of Louisville, singles each. Henson, a Starkville Academy product, finished with two RBIs.
Right-hander Marc Cruso picked up the win in relief. Cruso hurled 1 1/3 innings and allowed one hit. He also walked a batter. Cruso is a product of Harrison Central High School. Starter Fernando Gonzalez of Puerto Rico went 3 1/3 innings and allowed five earned runs on nine hits. Right-hander Brock Ward of Louisville made a brief appearance on the mound and was followed by Evan Humphries, also a right-hander from LHS, who hurled the final 2 1/3 innings. He fanned two batters and walked a pair.
In the second contest, EC managed just two hits – a double by May and a single from Hampton.
Starter Blake Dubuisson, a right-hander from Long Beach, took the loss. He allowed two earned runs on one hit through two innings of work. He also fanned a batter and walked one. Right-handers Jordan Mixon and Severino Signa each hurled 1 2/3 innings in relief. Mixon allowed five hits and walked two batters. He is a product of East Webster High School. Signa walked a batter. He is a former standout at Deer Creek High School.
The Diamond Warriors host Pearl River Community College Wednesday, April 25, in doubleheader action getting under way at 3 p.m. at the Clark/Gay Baseball Complex. Sophomore players will be honored in pre- game activities of the home finale.
ECCC travels to Copiah-Lincoln Community College Saturday, April 28 to close out regular season competition. The first of two matchups begins at 2 p.m. on the Wesson campus.
EC’s baseball program is led by head coach Neal Holliman and assistants Justin Brewer and Jack Edmonson.