by Hunter Dawkins
Despite both teams having subpar early records for the baseball season, an intense doubleheader took place Saturday morning at the Mike Rutledge Field in Long Beach. The Long Beach Bearcats hosted the Pass Christian Pirates in a late morning/early afternoon showdown.
In Game 1, Long Beach (2-6) provided a dominating performance at the plate and mound, winning by the high school mercy rule after five innings with an 11-1 win. After that contest, the Pirates (2-7) and the Bearcats went back and forth in Game 2 before a four run-sixth inning helped secure Pass Christian a 9-6 victory.
“I thought we were really sloppy and came out flat early,” said Pass Christian Baseball Head Coach Ricky Smith. “Long Beach is a good team and they swung the bat well. Our kids responded well in the second game with Eli (Hilbun) pitching well, Trentin really coming back and solidified the game. Corbin Williams had a heck of a day.”
“We talk all the time about how teams give a good performance in Game 1 of a doubleheader and then show up flat in the second game,” said Long Beach Baseball Head Coach Shane Rutledge. “Today was an example of that.”
Even in a cloudy presence throughout the day, Game 1 began with a few energetic fireworks from the mound. The Pirates jumped on the scoreboard with an early run scored by Pass Christian Junior Logan Webb. The score was generated by a double from Pirates sophomore Corben Williams.
Long Beach answered with Bearcats Junior Cade Crosby leading off in style with a home run to tie up the score. Shortly after in the first inning, Bearcats Senior Kai VanCourt singled in Long Beach Sophomore JR McFarland. Following these plays, four more runs were produced by the Bearcats to take an early 6-1 lead at the end of the first inning.
Things didn’t get easier for the Pirates, as Bearcats Freshman Gage Williams took control of the rubber, striking out seven and not allowing another run. Long Beach was led by Sophomore Brent Garner and Freshman Charlie Starita as the only players with multiple hits, but VanCourt and Freshman Harrison Bull scored two runs a piece in the Bearcats victory.
Similar to Game 1, the scoreboard lights came quick as both teams scored multiple runs in the first inning to tie 2-2. The Pirates built a lead in the second with an errant throw from Long Beach that scored Pass Christian’s Webb and Sophomore Ian Trochesset for a 4-2 margin.
In the bottom of the fourth inning, Long Beach tied the score with Sophomore Adam Krol knocking in Bearcats Junior Kobe Cook followed by Garner grounding out to bring in Krol.
Momentum shifting directions, Cook doubled in Long Beach Senior Logan Sutherlin to take a Bearcats lead 5-4 at the end of the fifth.
Countering the score, Pirates Webb singled in Pass Christian Sophomore Brad Frederick to tie the score 5-5 in the top of the sixth. Pirates player Williams followed with a triple that knocked in two runs and an eventual 7-5 lead that Pass Christian would never relinquish for the rest of the game.
Pass Christian Senior Niolet earned the victory in relief of Freshman Hilbun. Niolet tossed three innings, allowing two runs, but striking out two and giving up zero walks. The Pirates were led at the plate by Williams, as the only Pass player with multiple hits, runs, and runs-batted-in (RBIs). Pass Christian Junior Mason Knapp also had multiple runs and RBIs.
Long Beach was led by Crosby with two hits, including a double and run scored. Bearcats Junior Dalton Cook was the only other player to reach base twice and score a run.
The Long Beach Bearcats will play Monday afternoon against Washington-Greenville High School in the Battle at the Beach Tournament. Pass Christian hosts cross-bridge rival Bay High in their first district game at 7pm Tuesday night.