[Nameplate] Fair ~ 35°F  
Freeze Warning
Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014

NMCC explodes past 'Jays

Wednesday, April 5, 2006

(Photo)
New Madrid County Central's Dylan Harris is tagged out by Charleston third baseman Tommy Starr.
CHARLESTON - The New Madrid County Central Eagles baseball team used a big sixth inning to open up a close game and got past the host Charleston Bluejays, 20-5 on a Tuesday afternoon.

The Eagles took advantage of five Bluejay errors in the sixth and scored 15 runs, to break open a 5-5 tie.

NMCC opened up the scoring in the top of the sixth, with back-to-back doubles by Thomas Higgerson and Dylan Harris. The Harris double drove in Higgerson to put the Eagles up 6-5.

With two outs, Cole Pruitt of the Eagles sharply grounded to the Charleston second baseman for what appeared to be the final out of the sixth. However, the ball was booted and Harris scored to make the game 7-5 in favor of NMCC.

The floodgates opened thanks to three consecutive errors by the Bluejays, which resulted in four unearned runs with two outs in the sixth inning.

"Not only did the wheels fall off," said Charleston coach Chris Stanfield, "but the transmission dropped and the engine blew. Give them credit, they swing the bats very well. They swing the bats better than anybody I have seen all year. They took advantage of our mistakes, give them credit."

Landon Lingle drove in three runs from the No. 9 hole, while Andy Gantner and Trey Sullenger drove in two runs apiece in the huge sixth inning for the Eagles.

"We are hitting the ball one through nine in the batting order consistently," said NMCC head coach John Jones. "That is what it is going to take to compete in our district, especially our conference."

Overall, NMCC had eight hits, of which, three were extra base hits, drew three walks and two Eagle batters were hit by pitch in the 15-run sixth.

"People saw a good ballgame the first five innings of the game," said Stanfield. "Sixth inning is the inning we have been trying to eliminate the last 10 years."

NMCC jumped on top in the first inning, by scoring two runs. Gantner started the rally in the inning, with a one-out single. Higgerson followed with a single of his own.

Harris followed with a double and plated Gantner and Higgerson to give the Eagles the early 2-0 lead.

Charleston responded with four runs of their own in the bottom of the first. Paul Johnson started the inning for the Bluejays with a single. Brink Naile followed with a single. Josh Marshall walked to load the bases for Charleston with nobody out.

After Nick Johnson struckout, Billy Butler induced a walk from Eagle starting pitcher Matt Whitehead, to drive in the first Bluejay run.

Chase McClendon grounded into what appeared to be an inning-ending double play. However, the throw from second base was caught by the pitcher, rather than the first baseman. The play allowed Naile to score and the game was tied at two.

Charleston scored their third run of the inning on a RBI single by the No. 8 hitter Garrison Eastman. Jones of the Eagles had seen enough and pulled Whitehead in the first. Higgerson relieved Whitehead and Charleston led 4-2 after one inning of play.

"We come out in the first inning and hit the ball and were up 2-0 early," said NMCC head coach John Jones. "Those were hard hits. We come back and have a couple of errors in the first and they're a good ball club and they take the lead. We have been through this before, we mess up one or two innings before we get on track. Once we do, we can put some runs on the board."

Charleston took a 5-2 lead in the bottom of the third on a sacrifice fly hit by Eastman. Butler scored the run for the Bluejays.

The Eagles answered with three runs in the top of the fourth. Whitehead reached on an error with one out. Woody Smelser and Lingle followed with consecutive singles. Lingle drove in Whitehead for NMCC.

Two more runs were scored by NMCC in the fourth on a two out error by the Bluejay shortstop. Through five innings, the score was tied at five runs.

The Bluejays essentially gave the Eagles the game with seven errors in the mercy rule shortened game.

"We work on fielding everyday in practice," said Stanfield. "We are playing some young kids and they are going through some growing pains right now. We will learn from this and get better."

Lingle led the hitting attack for NMCC going 4-for-5 with 4 RBIs.

Higgerson went 3-3 with two doubles and a single. Gantner, Harris, Whitehead and Smelser all had two hits apiece for the Eagles.

Harris had 3 RBIs, while Gantner drove in two runs.

Higgerson did an excellent job in relief for the Eagles. Threw four plus innings giving up only one run, struckout six, allowed only two hits and walked two.

"Matt looked to me that he wasn't loose," said Jones, "he just wasn't striding out there. He was leaving everything up high. Ball release was also high. Thomas came in and he is a gutsy little guy, he will throw what he can to get them out anyway he can.

"Curve ball was doing good today and he has a little pop on his fastball. He likes to be in control and once he gets that established, he is a pretty tough pitcher to hit."

Eastman drove in two runs, while Butler had the only other RBI for Charleston. Naile was the starter for the Bluejays going five and 2/3 innings, gave up 12 runs, 14 hits, struckout four and walked three.

NMCC (3-1) travels to East Prairie on Thursday with first pitch at 4 p.m.

Charleston (2-5) will also be on the road Thursday, as they travel to Kelly with game set for 4 p.m.

NMCC 20, Charleston 5

NMCC20030(15)-20182
Charleston401000-567

WP - Thomas Higgerson

LP - Brink Naile

2B - Higgerson (N), Dylan Harris (N), Landon Lingle (N).

Multiple hitters - NMCC : Lingle 4-5, Higgerson 3-3, Harris 2-4, Andy Gantner 2-5, Matt Whitehead 2-5, Woody Smelser 2-5.

Records - NMCC 3-1, Charleston 2-5.