NJCAA World Series

One year removed from Sterlington High, Casey Sutton is preparing to play in the World Series.

Sutton came through with a clutch performance Sunday afternoon, helping Hinds Community College (Miss.) clinch its first National Junior College Athletic Association World Series berth in 15 years.

Called upon to face theNo. 1-ranked team in the nation on its home field in the South Region championship game, Sutton responded by holding Jones County Junior College to two runs (one earned) on six hits over seven innings. Making his second start of the tournament, Sutton struck out five and walked two in the Eagles' 7-4 victory in Ellisville, Miss.

With Sunday's win, Sutton upped his season record to 8-2. A freshman righthander, he has a 3.22 earned run average through 72 2/3 innings, while striking out 54, walking 17 and allowing 68 hits.

Hinds (35-19) opens NJCAA Division II World Series play against Lincoln Land (Ill.) Community College (44-15) Saturday at 7 p.m. at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla. The Loggers are No. 5 in the latest national poll, with the Eagles checking in at No. 7.

In a matchup that featured two former Panthers starting on the mound, Sutton and Chad Reeves of LSU-Eunice both struggled in the first game of the tournament on Thursday, May 15.

Both starting pitchers went five innings, with Reeves and the Bengals holding a 7-5 lead. However, Caleb Upton's two-run bomb highlighted a four-run rally in the top of the ninth as the Eagles scored a dramatic 10-9 victory over second-ranked LSU-E.

Hinds went on to edge JCJC 9-7 in Friday's winner's bracket game, with the Bobcats bouncing back to top the Eagles 12-9 Saturday to force a winner-take-all championship game.

Reeves, a sophomore lefthander, closed out the season with an 11-1 record and a 2.62 ERA. In 15 starts, he logged 89 1/3 innings — 40 innings more than any other Bengals' pitcher. Holding opposing hitters to a .203 batting average, Reeves notched an impressive 95 strikeouts while walking only 36 and giving up 64 hits.