Maybe it was a touch of rust from having a first-round bye. Perhaps it was just the nature of baseball. However Friday night in Soso looked, the overall job got done. A slow night of offensive production at the plate didn’t stop West Jones from taking a one-game lead over Long Beach in Class 5A second round playoff action. The Mustangs defeated the Bearcats 4-0.
“It’s a whole new season,” said West Jones head coach Trey Sutton. “It doesn’t matter what teams have done to this point. Every round you start, you’re 0-0.
“We did what we had to do tonight to win. We played some small-ball, something we normally don’t do. When you’re not barreling balls up, you find a way to get things down.”
Click on the link for video highlights and the full postgame interview with head coach Trey Sutton:https://youtu.be/nVbkMckb2ik
Click on the link for a photo gallery from the game:http://sports601.com/index.php/gallery-page-west-jones-long-beach-baseball/
Southern Miss signee Dustin Dickerson picked the complete game shutout, forcing zeros across the boards on six hits and 13 strikeouts. Dickerson settled in after allowing a leadoff walk to begin the game, followed by a hit batter with one out.
“Dickerson threw the ball well,” Sutton said. “It might have been a little bit of rust, but I think he was amped up to get the playoffs going too. He later settled in and got the job down for us.”
Despite getting outhit by Long Beach 6-5, West Jones took advantage of Bearcat errors and a series of bunts to advance runners and eventually score. After a Bearcat throwing error in the third put runners in scoring position, senior Kris Riley scored the game’s first run on an RBI groundout.
Shortly after junior Kelton Keene reached scoring position on a leadoff double in the fourth, Keene scored two bunts later. It was senior Logan Kelly’s bunt that scored Keene.
West Jones added two insurance runs in the sixth, thanks to an RBI double by Dickerson and bases loaded RBI walk by Riley.
“Good teams can get runs across,” said Sutton. “We didn’t swing it great tonight, but we bunted it well. We were able to move guys over that way.”
The Mustangs travel to Long Beach on Saturday for Game 2 of the best of three playoff series. Suton said his team is looking for the sweep.
“I told our guys that I wanted us to swing it better in Game 2 and do everything else well like pitch it well and play defense,” said Sutton. “Anytime you win the first game you want to go ahead and win the second one. So, we’ll go down there and try and do that.”