Bobcats destroy Eagles
GOING, GOING, GONE! n Jones Junior College's Jason Rowland is greeted at the plate by his Bobcat teammates after hitting a grand-slam Thursday night. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Austin Bishop/Special to The Star
May 11, 2001
Sometimes losing an argument can be a good thing.
That's what Jones Junior College head baseball coach Bobby Glaze found out on Thursday night as his Bobcats rolled to a convincing 16-5 win over Meridian Community College in the first round of the NJCAA Division I Region 23 Tournament.
With his team trailing 2-1 in the top of the third, Glaze was upset with home plate umpire Bobby Barlow because he did not award JCJC leadoff man Mario Laphand first when Glaze thought his batter was hit by a pitch.
After a fiery discussion, Glaze was ordered to return to the third base coaching box and Laphand got back in the batter's box. Laphand, a freshman from Quitman, lined a triple into right to score Nathan Majure from first and tie the game. Craig Bush then singled in Laphand to give the 27-22 Bobcats the lead for good.
Jones went on to add one more run in the fourth to make it 4-2, but really broke it open against Meridian starter Martin LaRocca in the top of the fourth.
After JCJC scored a single run on a sacrifice fly to make it 5-2, the Bobcats went on to load the bases. Jones clean-up hitter Jason Rowland responded with a towering homer to left-center to put the Bobcats up 9-2 and chase LaRocca (8-4) from the mound.
The Eagles never really challenged the rest of the way as Jones went on to bang out 17 hits. On a couple of occasions it looked as if the Bobcats would win by the run rule, but MCC rallied back to keep the game alive.
Jones starter Justin Hennington pitched a complete game for Jones to run his record to 8-1.
The win pushes JCJC into a 7 p.m. game today against Bossier (La.) Parish Community College. BPCC won its first-round game over Mississippi Delta by the score of 9-6.
Meridian now drops into the losers' bracket and takes on Northeast Mississippi an 18-7 loser to Gulf Coast in an elimination game at 1 p.m.
The last time the Eagles lost their first-round game in the Region 23 Tournament was 1998 when MCC bounced back to win five straight and claim the title on the way to a spot in the Junior College World Series.
Clint Harris ripped three singles and a double to lead Jones at the plate, while six other players picked up two hits each.
Matt McAlpin had two doubles for the winners, while Josh Sullivan ripped a solo homer to go along with a single.
LaRocca had a tough night on the mound for MCC.
He gave up six hits and eight earned runs in 32/3 innings.
Ben Shannon ripped a homer and a double for Meridian, while Travis Garner had a single and double.
Antoin Gray connected for a solo homer.
Both teams made six errors in the game, while Hennington held Meridian to eight hits.