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Southwest sweeps Pearl River in doubleheader

SUMMIT – A six-run, two-out rally in the bottom of the seventh gave the Southwest Bears a 7-6 win in game two, and an MACJC doubleheader sweep, over visiting Pearl River Wednesday night. The Bears took the opener 7-3, giving head coach Ken Jackson his 500th career victory.

The Bears took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second in the finale when Ross Buckley led off with a triple to left field and scored on Brady Anderson’s single.

A bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth sent the tying run across the plate for Pearl River. They then scored three in the fifth and one each in the sixth and seventh innings to take a commanding 6-1 lead.

All seemed lost for the Bears (10-12, 4-6) when the first two batters were retired in the bottom of the seventh. Then Murphy’s Law took hold and everything that could go wrong for Pearl River (9-17, 3-7), and right for the Bears, did.

A fielder’s choice, error and hits by L. D. Coney, Duncan Cornfoot and Trent Gordy produced four runs to make the score 6-5. Another error then allowed Jarvis Warner to score the tying run and Anderson’s base hit past the first baseman sent Jesse Pittman scurrying across the plate with the winning run.

“I can’t give enough credit to our kids for believing in themselves,” said Jackson, “and believing they could come back and win. We just took advantage of a couple of things, a couple of errors they (Pearl River) made and got a couple of timely hits. The ball just bounced the right way and we had the opportunity to win the ballgame.”

Reliever Kaleb Clarke retired the only two batters he faced in the top of the ninth to pick up the win on the mound.

Hits by Coney, Walt Aldridge and Clarke helped the Bears take a 1-0 lead in the third inning of game one. Two bases-loaded walks in the top of the fourth gave Pearl River a pair of runs and a 2-1 lead.

The Bears regained the lead for good in their half of the fifth. Coney walked and scored two batters later on Reed Thames’ single to right field. Moving to second on Clarke’s base hit, Thames then scored on the first of two Anderson singles. Dylan Spiers then singled to score Clarke and put the Bears on top 4-2.

With the score 4-3, the Bears added their final runs in the bottom of the eighth with the big blow of the inning being Aldridge’s fourth hit of the game, a two-RBI double to right field. Pearl River managed to put three runners on base in the top of the ninth, but was unable to produce any runs as the Bears held on to give Jackson his milestone win.

“That’s a credit to the people I’ve had the opportunity to be around-the players, the administrations, the programs,” said Jackson of his 500th win. “It has very little to do with me, it’s the players. I’ve had the opportunity to be around some great kids who played the game the way it was supposed to be played and I was at the right place at the right time.”

“Another thing,” he said, “is it just means I’ve been coaching a long time. But, it’s been fun and it’s been the contributing factors of players, parents, administrations, schools and communities. It’s mainly for them and has very little to do with me.”

Sam Richard pitched six innings to get the win for the Bears. He allowed two runs on three hits while walking eight and striking out one. Jade Whitten picked up the save, giving up two runs (one earned) on two hits in three innings on the mound. He struck out three batters.

The Bears return to play Saturday when they travel to Meridian. Game one is set for a 2:00 first pitch.