May 4, 2017

Walk-off Home Run Gives East Central Baseball Split with Gulf Coast

East Central Community College’s Cole Prestegard hit a two-out solo home run in the bottom of the seventh inning of game two to break a 6-6 tie and give the Warriors a doubleheader split with Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College Wednesday, May 3, at the Clark-Gay Baseball Complex in Decatur.

The sophomore first baseman from Huntsville High School in Alabama drove a 3-1 pitch over the center field wall for the 7-6 East Central win. It was Prestegard’s team-leading 10th home run of the season. He hit his ninth in the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the game at 2-2. He also leads the Warriors with a .414 batting average.

Gulf Coast erupted for nine runs in the top of the first inning in the opening game on its way to an 18-3 win.

In the dramatic game two win, the Warriors fell behind early again. Gulf Coast had a 2-0 lead after two innings before East Central plated a run in the third and tied it on Prestegard’s home run in the fourth.

East Central would break the tie with four runs in the bottom of the sixth. Billy Cameron out of Mendenhall, Prestegard, and Brandon Clark of Neshoba Central all singled before a Gulf Coast error brought in a run. A sacrifice fly by Zach Parker of Quitman, a ground out from Tyler Ladner of Pass Christian, and a single by Cain Cleveland of Newton County brought in three more runs for a 6-2 Warrior lead.

That lead didn’t last long as Gulf Coast tied the game 6-6 in the top of the seventh with two singles, two hit batters, an error and a wild pitch, before Prestegard ended the game in the bottom half of the seventh with his long home run.

Dylan Marsh of Lake Cormorant got the win in relief with just one inning of work. Peyton Lott from Seminary had a strong start on the mound, going the first six innings.

In game one, Gulf Coast scored 18 times while pounding out 15 hits off seven East Central pitchers and taking advantage of four errors by the Warriors. Cameron, Cleveland, and Luke Yancey of East Rankin Academy each had two hits for East Central in the loss.

With the split, East Central is now 30-14 on the season and 16-10 in MACJC league play. The Warriors are tied for second place with two regular season games to go. The four teams that finish No. 2 through No. 5 host first round playoff series May 11-12.

East Central closes out its 2017 regular season on Saturday, May 6, at Northwest Mississippi Community College in Senatobia. Game times at 2 p.m. and 5 p.m.