by Hunter Dawkins, Publisher – editor@thegazebogazette.com

After tossing an eight inning, three pitcher, no hit game for a 1-0 victory on Friday, the Long Beach Bearcats baseball team (16-9) swept the Florence Eagles with a 13-6 win Saturday afternoon to advance to the second round of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) 5A Playoffs.

Going back and forth most of the game, the Bearcats played well offensively by scoring 10 runs in the last two innings.  Long Beach third baseman; MGCCC signee, Amiri Williams had two hits, crossed the plate twice and five runs batted in (RBI) to lead the Bearcats.

Second Baseman Jake Thomas was the only other Long Beach player with multiple hits while knocking in three RBIs.

Senior Aaron D’Aquila started on the mound for Long Beach, but lasted only two and a third innings before Eli Hodges came in for the final four innings.  The pitchers allowed five earned runs but combined for four strikeouts and only two walks.

The sparks began to fly in the top of the sixth with the Bearcats tying the game 4-4 with a bases loaded walk of first baseman Cameron Fennell, which brought home Wesley Watson.  Next play, Luke Thomas scored on a passed ball and Collin Dedeaux scored on a sacrifice fly for a Long Beach 6-4 lead.

The Bearcats never trailed the rest of the game with scores in the seventh from Ashton Schepens on a single, Watson on another single, Jake Thomas knocking in Harrison Bull and Charlie Starita on the last single, and finally Williams launching his three run home run that brought in William Brady and Fennell for a 13-4 lead.

Despite allowing two additional runs, Long Beach cruised home easily with advancing to the next round.

The Bearcats will play at East Central High School in the second round of the MHSAA 5A Playoffs on Friday in Hurley before returning home Saturday to face the Hornets in Long Beach.