No. 1-ranked Jones sweeps ‘Cat Fight

POPLARVILLE --- Top-ranked Jones County proved worthy of its No. 1 national ranking here Saturday after sweeping the host Pearl River in MACJC South Division baseball action in Wildcat Stadium.
PRCC, which evened its overall record to 11-11 and dropped to 0-4 in division play, saw its losing streak grow to eight after suffering 3-2 and 4-1 losses to the visiting Bobcats. JCJC, on the other hand, improved to 21-1 and 2-0 and should remain perched atop of the NJCAA Division II poll in next week’s balloting.
Since sweeping Bishop State (Ala.) on Feb. 28, the Wildcats have since dropped four straight doubleheaders to non-division foe East Mississippi at Scooba, Illinois Central at home, and South Division rivals Copiah-Lincoln at Wesson and Jones. The visiting Bobcats’ sole loss of the season was to MACJC non-division road foe Northwest Mississippi 7-1 in Senatobia on March 3.
In Saturday’s first game which saw two rain delays, things were scoreless in the first, but Wildcat starter Jake Brumfield out of Adams Christian Academy in Natchez gave up a one-out double to Josh Pankratz and walked Kris Brown before Tyler Schankin singled to load the bases in the top of the second. Steven Stiglets followed with a two-run base hit, then Schankin scored on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-0.
After The River went three up, three down in the bottom of the frame, JCJC threatened in the top of the third. Brumfield gave up back-to-back one-out walks to Alex Shermer and Pankratz. After Chase Hensley lined out to short, the duo advanced on an error. With runners at second and third, Schankin lined out to first baseman Nathan Pugh of Starkville High, who made a spectacular stop to end the threat.
The 3-0 advantaged remained intact until the bottom of the seventh when PRCC lead off Derrick Mount of Harrison Central High crushed a double to left field, Pugh walked and Deanzel Johnson out of Lanier High in Jackson followed with a single to left to score Mount. After JCJC starter Westin Stringer retired Jacob Taylor of Picayune High, Garren Berry of Petal High was belted by a pitch to load the bases and Pugh scored from third when Kyle Dolan reached on a fielder’s choice to make it 3-2. With runners at first and third, Dolan was nailed at second off a fielder’s choice for the game-ending out.
Stringer (4-0) got the win in his six-and-a-third innings on the mound, giving up five hits, striking out five, and walking one, while Will Simon pitched the final two outs.
Brumfield (3-1) went the distance to pick up the loss, giving up a mere three hits, striking out six, and walking three.
Pankratz and Stiglets (two RBIs) both doubled for the Bobcats, while Schankin singled and Chris Morgan had an RBI.
Brown paced the Wildcats’ five-hit effort with two base hits, while Mount doubled, and Lamar Anthony of Vicksburg High and Johnson (one RBI) both singled. Dolan also had an RBI.
Pearl River committed two errors in the game, while Jones County played error free.
In the nightcap, both squads went three up, three down in the first, while Schankin had a two-out triple in the top of the second and Taylor singled for the Wildcats in the bottom of the frame.
The Bobcats put up three in the top of the third when Stiglets led off with a single to right and Chris Morgan reached on a bunt on the first of PRCC errors. After Wildcat starter Brandon Pennington of Sumrall High struck out Jordan Stark, the base runners pulled off a double steal before Trent Giambrone cracked an RBI single for the first run of the game. Morgan scored then scored from third on a passed ball before Tyler Graves walked and Giambrone scored on Shermer’s ground out to second to make it 3-0.
Jones padded its lead with a solo run in the fifth when Stark reached on an error, moved to second on a passed ball and then to third on an error before Giambrone walked. Stark scored the Bobcats’ final run off Shermer’s sacrifice fly to center.
In the bottom of the frame, Kreg Garner of Northwest Rankin High smashed a two-out home run for the Wildcats’ only run of the contest.
Hensley (4-0) picked up the win in hurling the distance, giving up four hits and striking out six, while Pennington (2-1) got the loss in his six innings on the mound. He gave up five hits, struck out four, and walked two before Trevor Bennett of Hancock County High relieved in the seventh, giving up a hit and recording a strikeout.
Morgan paced JCJC’s six-hit attack with a double and a single, while Schankin tripled, and Giambrone (one RBI), Pankratz, and Stiglets all had base hits. Graves had an RBI.
PRCC finished with four hits, led by Garner’s homer (one RBI), while Johnson, Mount, and Taylor all had base hits.
The Wildcats committed three errors in the game to the Bobcats’ one.
Pearl River and Jones eye a South Division rematch doubleheader Wednesday, April 9 in Ellisville.
The River returns to action when it hosts South Division foe East Central next Saturday in a 2 p.m. doubleheader before division rival Southwest Mississippi plays host in Summit Wednesday, March 26, with a 3 p.m. twin bill.
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MACJC South Division Baseball Doubleheader
Played March 15, 2014 @ Poplarville, MS
Jones County   (20-1, 1-0)   030     000   0 --   3    3    0
Pearl River        (11-10, 0-3)   000     000    2 --   2     5    2
WP: Westin Stringer (6-0), starter, 6.1 innings, 5 hits, 5 K, 1 BB.
Also Pitching: Will Simon (7), .2 inning.
Catcher: Logan Smith.
LP: Jake Brumfield (3-1), starter, distance, 3 hits, 6 K, 3 BB.
Also Pitching: None.
Catcher: Houston Davenport.
Jones County: Josh Pankratz 2B, Stephen Stiglets 2B (2 RBI), Tyler Schankin 1B. Chris Morgan RBI.
Pearl River: Darien Brown 2-1B, Derrick Mount 2B, Lamar Anthony 1B, Deanzel Johnson 1B (RBI). Kyle Dolan RBI.
Jones County   (21-1, 2-0)   003   010   0 --   4    6    1
Pearl River        (11-11, 0-4)   000   010   0 --   1    4     3
WP: Chase Hensley (4-0), starter, distance, 4 hits, 6 K.
Also Pitching: None.
Catcher: Tyler Graves.
LP: Brandon Pennington (2-1), starter, 6 innings, 5 hits, 4 K, 2 BB.
Also Pitching: Trevor Bennett (7), 1 inning, 1 hit, 1 K.
Catcher: Houston Davenport.
Jones County: Chris Morgan 2B, 1B; Tyler Schankin 3B, Trent Giambrone 1B (RBI), Josh Pankratz 1B, Stephen Stiglets 1B. Tyler Graves RBI.
Pearl River: Kreg Garner HR (RBI), Deanzel Johnson 1B, Derrick Mount 1B, Jacob Taylor 1B.
NOTE: Pearl River has now suffered its fourth straight doubleheader sweep and has suffered eight straight losses. Jones County, which has now won seventh straight games, is ranked No. 1 in the latest NJCAA Division II baseball poll for the first time in school history and will host Pearl River in a 4 p.m. South Division doubleheader rematch set for Wednesday, April 9 in Ellisville.
UP NEXT: Pearl River returns to action when it hosts MACJC South Division rival East Central Saturday, March 23 in a 2 p.m. doubleheader in Wildcat Stadium.

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