Brandon strutted it’s ace Kellum Clark out to the mound at the start of the seventh inning Tuesday night to hold South Jones to its one-run lead, having hopes of a bottom frame rally and possible win. John Mitchell disrupted those plans, blasting the Mississippi State commit’s 3-2 pitch to the deepest part of center field for a two-run home run – his first of the season.
The extra cushion wasn’t needed in the end but was the icing on the cake as South Jones knocked off Brandon 7-3 in Day 4 of the Stringer Baseball Tournament.
“This was a playoff atmosphere,” said South Jones head baseball coach Jordan Rogers. “We talk about those a lot. We want to be in as many of those as we can before the postseason and district play. It gets you ready for those West Jones, Wayne County games. It was a big win for our guys.”
Click on the link to see video highlights and the whole postgame interview with South Jones head coach Jordan Rogers: https://youtu.be/pLZO_WhRYGg
Mitchell finished multiple hits, including a single in his prior at-bat.
It was senior teammate Nate Conliff though whose production at the plate made the difference in the game. Conliff finished with two hits and three runs batted in. His first hit, a two-run double in the left-center gap, put South Jones up 3-0 in the top of the first. After Brandon tied the game with three runs in the bottom of the first, Conliff’s next at-bat – a two-out RBI double off the Maroon Monster in left field – produced the go-ahead run, 4-3, in the third.
“John Mitchell pushes us over,” said Rogers. “And Nate Conliff had a great night offensively too.
Senior Tyler Ducksworth had two hits as well.
Brandon had chances, namely in the bottom of the fifth to at least tie the game, but back-to-back strikeouts with a runner in scoring position by reliever Destin Shoemake shut the door for the Bulldogs.
Shoemake entered the game in the bottom of the first after South Jones starting pitcher McCain Walters gave up three runs on an RBI single and two bases-loaded walks. Shoemake ended the threat by forcing a strikeout and groundout to close the inning. He finished the night with 11 strikeouts in 24 batters faced.
“McCain has done well for us,” said Rogers. “Tonight he wasn’t feeling it, and that is how baseball is sometimes. But Destin got in there and pounded the strike zone. We also played good defense behind him. I’m proud of Destin for picking up the slack there.”
South Jones improves to 8-3 overall, while Brandon falls to 7-3. Earlier in the evening, Brandon knocked off West Jones 10-6 in a shortened time-limit game in the Stringer Baseball Tournament.