(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
CHARLESTON -- Staying on a roll, Charleston dropped 10 runs on visiting New Madrid County Central Friday afternoon for their third consecutive win, defeating the Eagles 10-5.
"I thought we came out and swung it real well," Charleston's Zach Rowland said. "A lot of people stepped up when they needed to and that's a good thing to see."
Though the Bluejays would trail early after allowing the Eagles to score a run in the top of the first, it would be the only time they wouldn't hold the lead as their four runs in the first and three in the second would be more than enough to secure the win.
NMCC would have its share of opportunities, but failed to capitalize in some key situations.
One of those situations came in the second when, with two outs and a run already scored, the Eagles had the bases loaded.
With Gabe Smith at the plate looking to start a rally, the runner was picked off at first to kill a potential game changing rally.
In all, NMCC left runners stranded in scoring position in four out of the seven innings.
Credit Charleston starting pitcher Ethan Browning for keeping the Eagles offense at bay, as he only allowed two hits in the final three frames.
"It was just a gut check performance by him," Bluejay's coach Michael Minner said. "He didn't have his best stuff today but he battled all day, pitched around some errors and did a real good job for us."
In earning the win Browning pitched a complete game, allowing seven hits and four walks while striking out seven.
Minner credits clutch at bats like Josh Medlock's in the first inning to giving Browning the run support he needed.
"In the first inning it's 2-1 and it looked like they might get out of a jam," he said. "(Medlock) fouls off three pitches and drives in two runs there in the eight hole.
"That's something that we haven't had and that was the difference in the ball game."
For NMCC Tuesday was a marked improvement on the offensive end from the prior days game when they got no hit by Jackson 11-0.
Of the Eagle's seven hits Friday four were doubles.
"(Jackson) had a kid throwing up in high 80's," NMCC head coach John Jones said. "I knew that we'd come in here and anything in the low 80's to mid-70's we'd be able to hit.
"You go in a 24 hour period from seeing a baseball that looks like an Aspirin coming up there to one that looks like a softball coming up there your eyes tend to focus on it quicker and you can get around on it a little better."
Though their starter, Mike Darter, only lasted an 1 2/3 innings, the Eagles got a solid relief appearance from freshman Josh Reed, who had only pitched for the varsity squad once prior.
In finishing the game for NMCC, Reed would allow three runs in final four innings, giving up four hits while walking three.
Jones said once Reed settled down after allowing two runs to finish the second, he was impressed with the young Eagle's play.
"I told him after the ball game today, I said, 'Josh this may be good or bad, but I don't see you as a freshman anymore,'" he said.
"Your not a freshman in my eyes anymore so things are going to be a little bit different because I'm going to be a little bit tougher on you."
Still winless on the season at 0-5, NMCC faces a grueling week ahead of them when from they play seven games in a five day stretch starting this Tuesday visiting East Prairie will play kicking off at 4:14 p.m.
Charleston, meanwhile, will look for its sixth win of the season Monday when they visit the Oran Eagles at 4 p.m.
NMCC 110 102 0 -- 5
Charleston 430 201 x -- 10
WP -- Ethan Browning (2-0). LP -- Mike Darter (0-2). Multiple hits -- Denton Daugherty, (N) 2-4, Kyle Harris (N) 2-3, Dustin Pullen (C) 2-2. Extra-base hits -- 2B: Tim Clayton (N), Gabe Smith (N), Harris (N) (2), Zach Rowland (C).