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Rangers to host Hinds in first round playoff series

Three game series to begin Friday evening

Credit: NWCC Sports Information

For the first time since the 2019 season, No. 12 Northwest will stay at home for the first round of the NJCAA Region 23 playoffs.

After running through conference play without being swept for the first time since 2007, the Rangers locked up the third place slot in the MACCC standings with last weekend’s split at No. 3 Pearl River. Northwest (37-15, 21-7 MACCC) will host eighth-seeded Hinds this weekend in a best-of-three series, scheduled for May 3-5 at Jim Miles Field.

Game 1 will be played on Friday evening at 6 P.M., with the second game also scheduled for Saturday at 6 P.M. If necessary, the Rangers and Eagles will face off Sunday in a winner-take-all Game 3, scheduled for a 2 P.M. first pitch.

Northwest concluded the regular season batting .315 as a team, led by Cade Greer’s .410 batting average. The Olive Branch native leads the team with 16 doubles, with a triple, a home run and 36 RBIs, while also stealing 27 bases in 29 attempts.

Six everyday members of the Rangers’ batting lineup finished the regular season batting .300 or higher. Cade Leatherwood is hitting .363 with a team-high 39 runs batted in, followed by Jacob Hill’s .360 batting average and a team-best three triples. Hill also holds the program’s new stolen base record, currently sitting at 61 steals and 41 on the season.

Peyton Martin is batting .335 on the season with 32 stolen bases on 34 attempts. Matthew Roncalli and Levi Lang round out the top batters for Northwest, holding .333 and .312 batting averages, respectively.

On the mound, the Rangers have battled through various injuries for a 5.57 team ERA. Scott Sharp leads all Northwest pitchers with an 8-2 record and a 3.72 ERA, posting 56 strikeouts against 21 walks. Brennan Jones and Gavin McCoy also both have earned run averages under 5.00, with the duo combining for an 11-4 record.

Northwest has also relied on several relief options, most notably James Smith. The Southaven native has collected eight wins and two saves in 18 total appearances, while Carson FoxCooper Mitze and most recently, Baker Walker, have all earned valuable innings of work on the mound.

As for Hinds, the Eagles are batting .293 as a team with a 5.96 team ERA. Cameron Hill leads the team in doubles (18), home runs (14) and runs batted in (67), while sporting a .309 batting average. Thomas Marsala holds the Eagles’ highest batting average (.397) with 12 doubles, 11 home runs and 51 RBIs.

On the basepaths, Brice Ainsworth has stolen 12 bases on 15 attempts, while knocking in 12 doubles, 33 runs batted in and a .303 batting average.

Hinds has been led by Lincoln Sheffield and Ryan Herbison on the mound, with the duo combining for a 12-10 record. Sheffield holds the team’s lowest starting ERA (3.57) with 76 strikeouts against 22 walks and two complete games. Herbison has 52 strikeouts against 35 walks, with a 4.27 ERA.

All games of the series will be carried on Ranger TV (nwccrangers.com/watch).

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