by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher –

In the last district, regular season game for the 2022 baseball season, West Harrison defeated the Long Beach Bearcats 6-3 at the Hurricanes field on Saturday, April 16.  Even though West Harrison (5-20) had no hope for the playoffs this year, the ‘Canes kept the “Exit 28” district rival from winning District 7-5A after defeating the Bearcats twice in the last week.

“We’ve played well the last few weeks and it starts off the mound by throwing strikes and somehow we’ve been avoiding those big disastrous innings,” said West Harrison Head Baseball Coach David Marsland.  “It’s just a little too late, we’ve got some young kids that might need to be inserted and we’ll see how this summer goes.”

The starting pitcher for West Harrison; Hunter Ross, tossed a complete game and struck out two, gave up no earned runs, but allowed five hits.

The ‘Canes jumped on the scoreboard in the first two innings, as West Harrison Senior Kolten Scott walked in with the bases load and Elijah Carriere scored after Kevin Sherwood’s sacrifice fly for a 2-run lead.

In the bottom of the fourth, Carriere scored again following a line drive single by ‘Canes player Torrance Skidmore for a 3-0 lead by West Harrison.

Long Beach third baseman Amiri Williams made the game more interesting with a 2-out, 2-run single in the top of the fifth inning where he advanced to second on a West Harrison error.  Bearcats Centerfielder Harrison Bull then slapped a hard ground ball through the left side that brought in Williams to tie the score 3-3.

West Harrison countered with two runs in the bottom of the fifth with Justin Seal hitting a sacrifice fly where ‘Canes Senior Christopher Dyess tagged to score and Carriere knocking a single to right field bringing in Donnie Davis.  With an additional error by the Bearcats in the bottom of the sixth where Scott scored, the leaderboard finished out 6-3 in favor of the ‘Canes.

“I thought Ross did really well in both games that he pitched against us and he has commanded pitches in the strike zone,” expressed Long Beach Head Baseball Coach Garrett LaRosa.  “We’ve got to pick up the tempo before we get to the playoffs, as we have been playing a little slow lately.  It’s hard to flip a switch, we’ve got to focus on it in practice.”

After collecting nine overall hits and three walks, shortstop Carriere led the ‘Canes at the plate as he finished 3-3, 2 runs, 3 steals and one run-batted-in (RBI).  Dyess and Scott each collected multiple hits with the leadoff third baseman (Scott) scoring twice.

The Bearcats had 5 hits, 3 walks, and 2 players were hit by pitches.  Williams was the only player with multiple hits and RBIs, but Long Beach first baseman Cameron Fennell, Centerfielder Bull, Right-fielder Ashton Schepens and Designated Hitter Wesley Watson reached base twice.

Long Beach (13-10, 5-4) finished second in District 7-5A, setting them to host the Florence Eagles at the Mike Rutledge Stadium on Friday, April 22 at 7pm.  The game scheduled is the first round of the MHSAA 5A playoffs where the winner will take on the East Central Hornets on Friday, April 29 in Hurley.