Santana homers, McKinley pitches Co-Lin past Hinds

Published 8:36 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WESSON – The Hinds Community Eagles had not seen a starting left-handed pitcher in 16 games until Tuesday. They met Co-Lin freshman Shane McKinley and he handcuffed them with a 4-hitter, pitching a 5-2 South Division victory in Sullivan Stadium.

Co-Lin catcher Jonathan Santana provided the Wolfpack with a big game, slugging a third-inning RBI single and a fifth-inning 2-run homer in the opener. Co-Lin whipped Hinds 12-2 in the nightcap, giving them a rare sweep of the Eagles.

“As soon as I hit it, I knew it was gone,” said Santana, recalling the 2-run shot over the right-center field fence. “It’s pretty sweet when you run the bases.”

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Santana praised McKinley’s performance, which featured 2 strikeouts and 2 bases on balls. “McKinley threw a great game. He threw strikes and the defense was behind him.”

McKinley, a 5-foot-11, 190-pound southpaw from Tylertown by way of Parklane Academy, raised his record to 3-1 on the season. His only glitch was a sixth-inning, solo home run by Justin Smith. It bounced off the top of the right-center field fence.

“It’s always a good day when you are feeling good on the mound,” said McKinley. “I felt really confident in my defense. I appreciate them.

“I felt good throwing three of my four pitches; my changeup, my fastball and my slider,” McKinley added. “I threw my curve a little bit.”

Co-Lin coach Keith Case described his pitcher’s performance. “Shane has really been focused since the Delgado game. He is pitching well.”

Smith, the Eagles’ fifth batter, singled and scored his team’s first run on a fielder’s choice grounder by Montana McDaniels.

Co-Lin took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third. Ryan Young led off with a single past shortstop and went to second on an outfielder’s error. Milton Griffin’s grounder drove him home with the first run. Collin Page and Santana provided RBI singles.

In the fifth Caleb Dugas sent a double over the Hinds centerfielder’s head and Santa greeted starting pitcher John Gault with a blast over the fence, making it 5-1.

“Every time we made a mistake, (Co-Lin) was able to capitalize on it,” said Hinds coach Sam Temple. “That’s the first lefty starter we’ve seen this season. McKinley did a good job.”

Gault (2-3), a big 6-foot-4 sophomore right-hander from Shreveport, La., struck out 4 batters, walked 1 and allowed 7 hits.

Co-Lin improved its record to 12-7 overall and 2-0 in the South. Hinds slipped to 8-10 and 0-2.