by Hunter Dawkins
Nothing was easy to grab the first baseball victory of the season, but the Long Beach Bearcats (1-5) displayed grit and poise to shutout the East Central Hornets 2-0 in their first home game at the Mike Rutledge Field Friday night. Bearcats Junior starting pitcher Ethan Nichols threw 6 1/3 innings, allowing only four to reach base, and striking out 12.
“That was a great ball game for what we practice and preach,” said Long Beach Baseball Coach Shane Rutledge. “Ethan went out there, struck out the side in the first, Cade Crosby led off the game with a double and we never looked back. Everyone’s intensity was up and everyone did their job.”
Nichols produced a gem with seven strikeouts in the first three innings, but Long Beach did not catch a break until the bottom of the 3rd inning and two outs.
Long Beach Junior Catcher Dalton Cook hit a ground ball to the East Central third baseman, which led to an errant throw and a score from Bearcats Freshman Outfielder Harrison Bull. The next play Bearcats Senior Outfielder Logan Sutherlin singled through the infield gap, bringing in Cook.
Even with a tight lead, Long Beach Nichols struck out five more before Cook came into finish the game. The Bearcats Nichols earned the win and Cook got the save.
Despite the low score, the Bearcats reached base eight times with Long Beach Senior Sutherlin being the only player to reach multiple times.
Long Beach Boys Baseball host a doubleheader scheduled with cross-town rival Pass Christian Saturday morning beginning at 11:00am.