by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Coming off a massive winter storm in Mississippi last week, the Long Beach Bearcats and West Harrison Hurricanes Baseball teams split in the 2021 season first doubleheader on Saturday.  Playing at West Harrison Baseball Field in Gulfport, the Bearcats stole the lead late and won; 7-5 in nine innings for Game 1.  The Hurricanes rallied back during the middle innings to seal a victory in Game 2; 6-5.

GAME 1:  Long Beach 7 West Harrison 5 (9 innings)

The Bearcats got things started in the first inning as third baseman Amiri Williams hit a sacrifice fly to bring home Long Beach Shortstop Brent Garner for the first score.

Long Beach first baseman Cameron Fennell scored on the next play with an error from a ball hit by the Bearcats Senior Designated Hitter Adam Krol.  This left the game with a 2-0 Long Beach lead after one.

For the next three innings, West Harrison put up 5 unanswered runs behind a slew of Long Beach mishaps and a run-scoring double from Hurricanes infielder Koleton Scott.

The Bearcats found an answer with an offensive onslaught in the sixth inning from second baseman Collin Dedeaux; who knocked-in a two run single, and Williams being hit by a pitch to bring home Garner.

Once the game went into extra innings, Long Beach outfielder Aston Schepens singled on a ground ball that brought in Bearcats player Dawson Sutherlin.  Then, Garner doubled to left to bring in Schepens.

Fennell closed out the last four innings from the mound, only allowing one hit and striking out seven for the Bearcats first victory of the season.

“We had a few timely hits, which worked out in our favor,” said Long Beach Head Baseball Coach Garrett LaRosa, who earned his first victory.  “It came down to defense.”

Dedeaux, Schepens, and centerfielder Harrison Bull had two hits to lead Long Beach from the box.  Garner and Schepens both scored multiple runs for the Bearcats.

Scott was the only player with multiple hits for West Harrison, as he finished with three along with a run-batted-in (RBI).

GAME 2:  West Harrison 6 Long Beach 5

West Harrison fired up the offense to rally against Long Beach in the second game.  Behind 5-1 in the third inning, the Hurricanes scored 5 unanswered runs the next two innings to seal the victory.

After Long Beach Senior Krol lit up the scoreboard on a third inning single that scored Fennell for a 5-1 lead, Scott hit a home run in the bottom of the third for West Harrison, bringing in senior Jace Ochoa to cut the score to 5-3.

Scott singled in the next inning, sending West Harrison outfielder Tyler Casper across the plate followed by Ochoa scoring on a passed ball.  After a passed ball, Scott crossed home for a final West Harrison lead 6-5.

West Harrison Freshman Hunter Ross threw the last four innings unscathed, only allowing three hits, no walks and three strikeouts to earn the victory for the Hurricanes.

“It’s hard for everybody to stay focused through two games right now,” expressed LaRosa.  “I think the difference in the games was defensive play.”

Scott, Casper, and West Harrison Catcher Chance Nabong each collected 2 hits.  Scott was the only Hurricane with multiple RBIS (3) and crossed plate twice.

Krol led Long Beach with 3 hits and Schepens had 2 while Fennell was the only Bearcat knocking in multiple RBIs.

The next game for each is Long Beach Bearcats playing at Pass Christian and the West Harrison Hurricanes on the road against Stone County Tuesday night for both.