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Jones Junior College wins state crown

By By Steve Swogetinsky / staff writer
May 7, 2002
SENATOBIA Talk about championship pressure. In the bottom of the ninth with one out, bases loaded, the tying run on first and the State Junior College Tournament championship on the line, Jones Junior College pitcher Matt McAlpin was making a rare appearance as a relief pitcher.
Normally a starter, JCJC coach Bobby Glaze called on the Mize sophomore to close the game for the Bobcats.
The Northwest Community College batter got a piece of the ball and grounded to second baseman Craig Bush. Bush touched second and threw the batter out at first to clinch the victory as the Bobcats defeated Northwest Community College 12-9 and claimed the championship game of the State Junior College Tournament which was held here at the Rangers' field.
In a way, it was the rubber game of a best two-out-of-three series between Jones and Northwest. Jones, now 27-22, opened the rain-delayed tournament with a 9-6 win over the now 39-9 Rangers, who came in ranked No. 2 in the nation.
Northwest had to play its way out of the loser's bracket, and did so. Jones played one more game, defeating Holmes 12-2 Sunday. The Rangers had to win two games Monday, and actually won one, taking a 17-10 win over JCJC.
Northwest 9
Chris Holloman was the winning pitcher for the Bobcats as he pitched in relief of starter Josh Sonnier. The Rangers outhit the Bobcats 15-13. But during the game, JCJC batters slugged four home runs, including a grand slam by Bush in the top of the fourth that put the Bobcats on top for good.
Jones scored three in the first and three in the second, but Northwest answered with two in the first and four in the third. Bush's home run gave the Bobcats a 10-6 lead, and they added two more runs in the sixth inning.
But the Rangers wouldn't go away as they added one run in the fourth.
In the bottom of the ninth, Northwest picked up a run against Holloman and Glaze inserted McAlpin. However, the first Ranger batter he faced knocked in a run and Jones' five-run lead was now three.
McAlpin made it interesting when his fast ball went outside just a little to make the count full. But his curve ball did the job as the Northwest batter got just enough of it to ground into a double play.
Bush paced the JCJC batters with two singles, a double and a homer. Wyn Spencer hit a homer and a single; Ricky Breazeale slugged a homer; Kyle Pipkin hit two doubles and a single; and, Jonathan Robertson hit a homer and two singles.
Northwest 17
The Rangers opened up with four runs in the first, one in the third, three in the fourth, four in the fifth and two in the sixth as they went up 14-2 on JCJC.
Jones answered with five runs in the sixth and three in the seventh as it trailed 14-10. But that was as close as the Bobcats would come in this game as Northwest added one in the eighth and two in the ninth. Jones takes on EMCC at 7 p.m. Thursday in the first round of the Region 23 Tournament in Meridian.