Belanger hurls Co-Lin over Coahoma Tigers

Published 6:00 am Monday, March 21, 2005

WESSON — When Ryan Belanger is in a groove no one can stop him.The Coahoma Tigers learned that fact the hard way Saturdayafternoon, as the Copiah-Lincoln Community College sophomore tosseda 14-strikeout shutout on Sullivan Field. Co-Lin swept Coahoma 9-0and 9-4 in the doubleheader contest.

“We as a team played good today,” said Belanger who tied hiscareer-high for strikeouts in a game. “Everything fell into place.Defensively we played great and offensively we hit the ball. It wasa god team victory.”

Belanger’s day started off a little sluggish, as he allowedCoahoma’s first two batters hits, before settling down into agroove. He picked off the leadoff batter and retired two Tigers ona strikeout and grounder.

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“Ryan pitched really well today,” said Co-Lin head baseballcoach Keith Case. “After the third inning he got into arhythm.”

While Belanger was setting Tigers down, the Wolves were makingthem turn their heads. Co-Lin took a quick 4-0 lead after threeinnings of play. The Wolves (16-9) went ahead 5-0 in the fourth,following a Jody Britt blast over left field.

Mound-wise, Belanger continued to dominate. The Houma, La.native mowed down five Tiger batters in a row during the third andfourth frames. He struck out eight of 10 batters faced in thethird, fourth, and fifth innings.

“I really needed this today,” added Belanger. “My stuff wasworking well, and our team played great.”

Co-Lin finished the game plating an extra four runs. The Wolvesknocked in three during the sixth, off numerous fielding errorsmade by the Tigers (7-10).

Belanger (3-2) struck the final two Coahoma batters out in theseventh, to collect his third win of the season.

Co-Lin 9, Coahoma 4

Game Two of the Tigers/Wolves dual started with a 1-1 tie afterone inning of play. Co-Lin used a hot bottom of the second inningto adjust the score to 4-1, off RBI singles from Xavier Qualls andsophomore shortstop Patrick Williams.

Coahoma, coached by Billy Fields answered Co-Lin’s second inningrampage with one of their own in the third. The Tigers used acombination of Co-Lin mistakes to deadlock the game, as freshmenAvis McJunkins hit a towering two-run shot.

“We lost focus and did not do a very good job,” said Case aboutthe Wolves’ collapse. “We didn’t play good defense, nor swing thebat well either.”

Case watched his Wolves turn the game around in the fourthframe, as freshman third baseman Garrett Jones issued a two-RBIdouble to score Williams and freshman catcher Matthew Schexnayderfrom third and second respectfully.

Co-Lin added a three-run shot by sophomore first baseman BenSandifer in the sixth.

Freshman Derek Thompson (4-2) collected the win for the Wolveson the mound, throwing a complete game. Thompson issued sevenstrikeouts and walked four batters. He allowed five hits.

Suffering the loss for Coahoma was freshman Samuel Cline (0-1).He allowed 12 hits on four walks and two strikeouts.

For the Wolves, Sandifer led all batters with a homer and asingle. Justin Sykes plated a double and a single. Qualls added apair of singles and two RBIs. He raised his batting average to ateam-leading .446 in the process. Schexnayder collected twosingles.

Co-Lin resumes play Monday, hosting Baton Rouge CommunityCollege at noon, and East Mississippi Community College at 4 p.m onSullivan Field. The Wolves begin South Division play Fridaystarting at noon against defending state champion Pearl River.