Bears bounce back, earn split with visiting Hinds

Published 11:16 am Thursday, March 31, 2022

n arguably the best performance from the hitters in a two-game series, the Bears got a combined 18 hits in a split with visiting Hinds as the hosts were edged 6-5 in Game 1 before walking away with a 10-6 win in Game 2.

“I was really proud of our guys and we finally won a Game 2 and it was our first one of the year,” SMCC head coach Jack Edmonson said. “I felt like we won all but one inning in the day and it got us beat in Game 1.”

In the Game 1 loss, the Bears (8-16, 3-7) immediately fell behind as the Eagles plated a run.

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Southwest didn’t respond until the fourth, but it did so in a big way. With the bases loaded and two outs, Hunter Harrell doubled to left, clearing the bases and giving the Bears their first lead of the game at 3-1.

“I was just trying to pick up my teammates that struck out before,” said Harrell, who finished 3-for-5 with four RBIs. “I was more worried about helping the team.”

The 3-1 advantage for the Bears lasted until the sixth when the Eagles tied the game on a two-run single. Southwest, however, quickly regained the upper-hand in the bottom half of the inning when Harrell delivered again, this time a single to left scoring Christian Kell.

Miller Mathews joined the fray in the seventh with an RBI single of his own, but a pair of home runs in the eighth gave Hinds the 6-5 lead, one that they unfortunately held on to for the remainder of the contest.

In Game 2, Shaine O’Keefe got the nod for the Bears, looking for his second win in consecutive starts. And he did just that going 4.1 innings, giving up only two hits, five runs (four earned) and three walks while striking out two.

“I really just focus on getting the win,” said O’Keefe, a native of Toronto, Canada. “It is about the team. I don’t look at personal stats, just if we have won or loss.”

O’Keefe added that it is special having an offense like his teams’ which can deliver more runs helping to make his job a bit easier.

“These guys can really swing the bat,” he said. “It is great for them to go out there and give me a bunch of runs and the lead.”

In the fourth, with the score tied at 3, the Bears broke the game open. A Braydon Coffey sacrifice fly was followed by a Jerod Williams RBI single, a fielder’s choice, a two RBI double by Kell and an RBI single from Harrell, increasing the hosts’ lead to 10-3.

Jonathan Havard came on in relief and picked up where O’Keefe left off, going the remaining 2.2 innings, striking out six while giving up only three hits and one run (earned).

Williams was the top batter for the Bears finishing 2-for-3 with two runs scored and two RBIs.

The Bears return to action Saturday facing Holmes.