LAUREL – Gloves popped, bats cracked and the first sight of baseball being played since March was seen during the opening day of the Deep South Collegiate League.
In one of four games played during the day Team McCarty defeated Team Floyd 5-3.
Opening day also allowed for every hitter of each’s team roster to hit and every pitcher to see at least one inning of work. Despite not playing organized baseball for the first time in three months, the main components of the day included talented pitching and surprising offense.
According to head coach Kirk McCarty, it was evident that most of the athletes had not played in a live baseball game for some time.
“It’s impossible to simulate a true game rep in baseball,” McCarty said. a“It’s different when there is an umpire behind the plate and fans in the stands. I know a lot of guys on the team have said that they have worked as hard as they could to get live at-bats.”
Team Floyd (0-1) opened the first inning with a 1-0 lead after starting pitcher Tyler Spring (Southern Miss) hit and walked a batter to start the game. Easton Rainer (Meridian CC) then followed with an RBI single.
However, Team McCarty responded with a two-run RBI double from former Oak Grove catcher Kade Shannon (Jones College) to jump ahead 2-1.
“It’s been a while since I stepped in the box,” Shannon said. “I wanted to see a fastball, and I swung early in the count, and it got a little away from my hands, but I was able to swing it through the six-hole, so I was happy about that and put some runs on the board early.”
In the third inning, Team McCarty (1-0) extended it’s with a three-run frame in the third inning. First baseman Alden Davis (South Alabama) delivered an RBI single. Team Floyd then committed two back-to-back errors and pushed Team McCarty’s lead 5-1.
Despite the third inning, Team Floyd’s pitching staff retired Team McCarty’s lineup in order for the rest of the game while racking up five strikeouts. Team Floyd managed to add a run in the fourth inning on a fielder’s choice and one more run in the fifth inning with an RBI single from Grady Lucas (Mississippi Valley State).
For Team Floyd, Rainer finished 3-for-3 with an RBI, Lucas finished 2-for-3 with an RBI.
On the mound for Team McCarty, Hunter Stanley (Southern Miss) struck out the side in his one inning appearance while in two innings, Spring recorded four strikeouts and allowed one run. In the batter’s box, Shannon finished the game 1-for-3 with three RBI, Davis finished 2-for-3 with an RBI and Sumrall alum Billy Garrity (Southern Miss) finished 0-for-3 but recorded an RBI.
“Everybody is a little rusty it’s been like three months since we have been able to get on a field,” Garrity said. “But it felt really good to finally be able to play again and play with people you know.”