Jones’ walk-off helps Bears down Southeastern Iowa

Published 12:41 pm Monday, March 7, 2022

In a scenario similar to ones that many kids dream of while playing ball in the backyard, SMCC’s Braiden Jones delivered when given the opportunity. With the bases loaded and the Bears down to their final out, trailing visiting Southeastern Iowa 7-5, Jones hit a shot down the third base line clearing the bases and giving SMCC the dramatic walk-off 8-7 win.

“All I remember is looking at Coach (Jack) Edmonson and him telling me to act like the infield was in, and punch a ball through a hole.” Jones said. “And I just executed that and helped my team out.”

Playing in their final non-conference home game, the Bears (4-8) never led until the very end of Sunday’s game.

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Hits were hard to come by for both teams early on. SMCC starter Braxton Cooksey gave up none through the first four innings of play, while the Bears’ lone hit during that time frame came from Hunter Harrell who doubled in the second inning.

Even though the Bears got the first hit, the first runs of the game came from the Blackhawks. A sacrifice fly followed by an error during the ensuing at bat resulted in two Southeastern runs.

Trailing 2-0, the Bears looked to answer and got their second hit on a Miller Mathews single to left, but he was stranded as the next two players were retired via strikeouts.

In the seventh, the Blackhawks rallied once again, putting the Bears in an even deeper hole. An RBI double, an RBI single and a sacrifice fly — all during consecutive at bats — made it a 5-0 deficit for the hosts.

Despite being down, the Bears went on a run of their own in the eighth. After pinch hitter Conner McHenry was hit by a pitch and both James Yeager and Braydon Coffey followed up with singles, Brady Wilson and Brady Tynes drew bases-loaded walks before Jones hit a sacrifice fly. When the dust settled, SMCC found itself within two at 5-3.

Even though they had a renewed sense, narrowing the deficit to just two, the Bears had a rough top of the ninth as the Blackhawks scored two more runs on back-to-back RBI singles, making the score 7-3.

Down but not out, the Bears kept fighting and their resilience paid dividends in the bottom half of the ninth. After Mathews was hit by a pitch, Sebastian Parchomenko doubled him in two batters later. Later in the inning — with SMCC facing two outs — Coffey singled brining Parchomenko home, once again pulling the Bears within two at 7-5. Following walks to Wilson and Tynes, Jones got his big bases-clearing hit sealing the win for the Bears.

Jones led the Bears with four RBIs. Harrell and Coffey each had two hits.

After the game, Coach Edmonson talked about his teams no-quit attitude that it put on display, adding it was a good way to end a tough week.

“That is easy to see right now, the resiliency of the team,” he said. “What you don’t see now is the week that we’ve been through and the toughness that we’ve tried to instill in the guys this week. It has been a tough week for our guys, individually and it has been a tough week for our program. We’ve had to battle and work really hard to get where we are right now. I think that we are going to get going in the right direction.”

SMCC will be back in action on Sunday, visiting Delgado CC.