MERIDIAN — The Meridian Community College Eagles couldn't have written the script any better on Friday afternoon at Scaggs Field. Ben Kingsley belted three home runs and MCC got two solid pitching performances to earn a much needed doubleheader sweep of Delgado Community College (8-3, 8-3) in local JUCO baseball Friday afternoon. Meridian entered its three game series with Delgado at 2-4 in the Miss-Lou Conference and the two victories have brought some life back into the Eagles.
Kingsley has hit six home runs in his last four games and leads the team with 17 home runs for the season. Kingsley came into the doubleheader against Delgado tied for the lead at 14 home runs in the nation, but has taken the lead with three long shots on Friday.
"Any time you can sweep a conference doubleheader and against such a good team is such a plus," said MCC head coach Chris Curry. "I thought that our starting pitchers today did a great job of answering the bell in such key starts today. We have some guys on our team that are starting to understand their role and we did a lot of things right in every part of both games."
The Eagles scored five runs in the fourth inning and held off a late Delgado rally to take the Game One victory over the Dolphins. MCC took a 3-0 lead heading into the bottom of the fourth inning and the Eagles exploded for five runs to push its lead to 8-0. Dustin James got the fourth inning started with a single and Garrett Pitts followed with a double to put a pair of runners on base for MCC.
Kinglsey connected on his first home run of the day with a three-run shot to right field and give MCC a 6-0 lead over the Dolphins. The Eagles continued to use the long ball and scored two more runs to extend its lead to 8-0 over Delgado. Wade Wass reached base on an error by the Dolphins and Hunter Trawick blasted his sixth home run of the season that scored two runs and give MCC an 8-0 lead.
Delgado was able to rally late in the top of the sixth inning for three runs and cut the MCC lead to 8-3. Alex Prestenbach drove in two runs in the sixth inning for Delgado on a single and the third run of the inning scored on a wild pitch to bring the Dolphins to within five runs. MCC was able to hold off Delgado and secure the Game One victory by a final score of 8-3.
Brandon Hallford (3-1) pitched five innings for the Eagles and picked up the pitching victory and Brent Bonvillian (7-2) took the loss on the mound in Game One for Delgado. MCC had nine hits in Game One and was led at the plate by Kingsley and James with two hits apiece. Delgado (33-13, 4-7) ended Game One with eight hits and was led by Chad Fortenberry and Scott Fabre with two hits apiece.
Meridian completed the sweep of the Dolphins with another five-run victory in Game Two of the doubleheader. Meridian picked up right where it left off from Game One and scored in the bottom of the first inning to take a 1-0 lead over Delgado. Kingsley gave MCC the quick 1-0 lead on a solo home run over the wall in left field to give him his second home run of the day.
The Eagles extended its lead with three more runs in the third inning and move the score to 4-0. Kingsley belted his final homer of the day that drove in all three runs n the third inning and give MCC a four-run edge over Delgado.
Meridian added three more runs in the next two innings and carried a 7-0 lead heading into the top of the sixth inning. Delgado was able to score its first runs of Game Two in the sixth inning and trim the MCC lead to 7-2. Daniel Brockhoeft belted a two-run home run in the sixth inning to give Delgado a sense of hope and cut the lead to five runs.
MCC scored its final run of the game on an error in the bottom of the sixth and Delgado scored its final run of the game in the seventh inning on a home run by Matt Smith to make the final score 8-3 in favor of Meridian in Game Two.
The Eagles collected 12 hits as a team in Game Two and was led by Kingsley, James, and Darren Farmer with two hits apiece. Delgado ended Game Two with five hits and was led by Brockhoeft with two hits in the game.
Michael Manley (6-2) picked up the pitching win in Game Two for MCC by tossing five shutout innings and Nate Fury (2-2) took the loss on the mound in Game Two for Delgado.
The MCC Eagles entered its final home game of the 2011 season looking to earn a sweep of Delgado Community College, but the Eagles would be denied on Saturday at Scaggs Field. Delgado scored four runs in the sixth and eighth inning to avoid the sweep by Meridian to take an 11-6 victory over the Eagles in Miss-Lou Conference action.
Delgado (34-13, 5-7) closed out its portion of the Miss-Lou Conference schedule and the Dolphins will host the 2011 Region 23 Tournament in New Orleans on May 13-14. Meridian is still alive for the regular season championship in the Miss-Lou Conference, but the Eagles will need a sweep of Baton Rouge on the road next weekend. The Bears currently sits at the top of the standings in the Miss-Lou Conference with a 6-3 record. All three teams in the Miss-Lou Conference will advance to the Region 23 Tournament at Delgado in three weeks no matter the result of the final series between Meridian and Baton Rouge next weekend.
"We just made too many mistakes that hurt us late in the game," said Meridian Community College head coach Chris Curry. "We have hurt ourselves numerous times this season with mistakes and we allowed them to happen again today. We still have a lot of big games ahead of us and postseason baseball is just around the corner."
Meridian (31-18, 4-5) started the game off with three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take the early lead over the Dolphins. Brian Donohoe led the bottom of the first inning off with a solo home run and Ben Kingsley followed with a solo shot. Kingsley ended the week with seven home runs in five games and increased his total to 18 home runs which leads the nation in JUCO baseball.
The Eagles added one more run in the frame on an RBI-ground out by Darren Farmer to give MCC a three-run lead after an inning of play. Delgado answered with a run of its own in the top of the second inning to cut the Meridian lead. Alex Prestenbach provided the spark for the Dolphins with a solo home run over the wall in left field which was his second of the series to brin Delgado to within two runs.
Meridian answered with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning to push its lead to three runs once again at 4-1. Farmer led off the fourth inning on a walk and Nolan Thomas followed with a single, but the Dolphins made a throwing error in the process that scored Farmer..
The Dolphins battled back to answer the run of the Eagles with a run in the top of the fifth inning. James Davis smashed a solo home run for the Dolphins over the wall in left field to inch Delgado closer to within a pair of runs. The Dolphins took its first lead in the top of the sixth inning with four runs and grab the 6-4 lead over the Eagles.
Daniel Brockhoeft had an RBI single in the sixth inning, but the big blow came on a three-run home run by Angelo Bruno that gave Delgado the 6-4 lead over Meridian. The game continued until heavy rain entered the area in the top of the eighth inning and play was postponed for close to an hour. The game resumed and Delgado put the game away for good with four more runs in the top of the eighth inning to make the score 10-4. Three runs scored in the inning on a pair of errors by Meridian and a third run scored on a wild pitch.
MCC tried to mount a comeback in the bottom of the eighth inning with a pair of runs to cut into the lead. Thomas drove in one run on a double and Dustin James added an RBI double in the two-run eighth inning for the Eagles. Delgado added one more insurance run in the top of the ninth inning and rolled to the 11-6 win over MCC.
Meridian ended the game with 11 hits and was led at the plate by Donohoe with three hits and the one home run by Kingsley. Delgado had 10 hits and was led by Bruno with three hits, to go along with three RBI.