by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher

Following an up-and-down year with a young squad, the Long Beach Bearcats baseball team won a playoff-clinching game over the Hattiesburg Tigers Tuesday night at the Mike Rutledge field 10-4.

“I thought as whole, we did really well early,” said Long Beach Head Baseball Coach Garrett LaRosa.  “We’ve got to stay focused on winning the game.  I know it’s easy for us to score a couple of runs early and think we can hangout for a little while, but Hattiesburg started pitching better later in the game.”

The Bearcats (10-12, 4-3) were led from the mound by Senior Brent Garner, who tossed five innings while only allowing one earned run and having nine strikeouts.  Additionally, Garner helped himself from the plate hitting two singles, a base on balls, three runs batted in (RBIs) and a stolen base that led to a run scored.

Long Beach jumped on the Tigers early, scoring three runs in the bottom of the first inning on RBI singles from Garner and Bearcats Centerfielder Harrison Bull for an early 3-0 lead.

In the next two innings, the Bearcats tacked on two additional runs off a double by shortstop Collin Dedeaux and a single by first baseman Adam Krol.  After three innings, the score was 5-0 in favor of Long Beach.

Despite a rough fourth inning, the Bearcats posted four more runs on a passed ball, a single, and a sacrifice fly leaving the scoreboard 9-1 after four innings.

The Tigers attempted to make the game a little interesting by scoring three runs in the top of the sixth inning on a single and fielder’s choice, but the Bearcats secured the victory with Krol’s fielder choice that brought home pinch runner Luke Thomas.

While Garner and Right Fielder Ashton Schepens were the only Long Beach players with multiple hits, every player reached base with five reaching base multiple times.

The next game is scheduled for Monday, April 26th at Mike Rutledge field in Long Beach against district rival, Picayune Memorial High School.