Like every other ball club in Mississippi this season, East Marion has had to wait out the rain to finish its district slate, which will determine the Eagles’ playoff opponent.
East Marion (4-9, 2-4) was supposed to finish its Region 8-2A schedule Friday in a doubleheader against Collins, but mother nature got in the way. Although the Eagles are likely postseason bound, they need at least one victory against Collins to secure a playoff berth. Two victories would earn East Marion the No. 3 seed. East Marion’s postseason fate will now be decided Thursday in a home doubleheader against Collins that has had to be rescheduled three times.
Last week head coach Mandell Echols referenced that North Forrest swept Collins, while the Eagles swept North Forrest 12-1 and 19-1.
“They’re young, and the baseball knowledge is not good. They don’t have much pitching,” he said. “That will determine if we make the playoffs or not — right now we’re in third — and if we lose to them, we might not make it. We should win that one though.”
While the doubleheader had to be postponed, the Eagles did get some game action in Monday at Lumberton. But as has been the case several times this season for East Marion, one bad inning came back to bite the Eagles in a 10-5 loss.
“Ka’Ron Weary pitched well, but we made some errors behind him. They were some real simple plays where we took our eye off the ball here and there. Our bats at the bottom of the lineup just weren’t having a good day,” he said. “We had the bases loaded two or three times (with the bottom of the order up to bat) and didn’t produce. That hurt us big time.”
The contest was nip-and-tuck, tied 4-4, until the fifth inning with three East Marion errors leading to four Lumberton runs and a bloop base hit plating a fifth, which turned out to be the difference in the game. Echols said a lot of the errors the Eagles make are more from mental mistakes rather than physical ones, such as not being positioned correctly prior to the pitch, coming up to throw before securing the ball or not taking the time to set up the body to make an accurate throw. A lot of it comes relative inexperience on the diamond, which Echols hopes more game reps will eventually correct for the young Eagles.
“It’s always just one inning. It’s like we just lose focus for one big inning, then we wake back up and start back playing,” he said. “We have to figure out that one inning.”
While the bottom of the order struggled against the Panthers, Echols said his one through five hitters got the job done. Weary roped a pair of doubles, got hit by a pitch and had 2 RBI, and LJ Andrews ripped a pair of base knocks and plated a run. Alex Miller drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.
The Eagles played at Richton Tuesday night, but results were unavailable at press time. After taking on Collins Thursday, East Marion will finish the regular season with a pair of road games against Tylertown Friday and West Marion Monday.
UPDATE: East Marion swept Collins Thursday to clinch a playoff berth.