Justin Williams (Madison) proved to be the hero in game two of the play-in series to the Region 23 tournament Friday evening after his two-run walk-off homerun in the bottom of the ninth inning that downed Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College 11-10.

Head coach Dan Rives was proud of his team’s fight in the sweep over the Bulldogs.

“I can’t say enough about the toughness of our kids to come back from what could’ve been a back breaking grand slam from Gulf Coast, and then to just keep chipping away at their lead,” Rives said. “Kendrick (Bershell) was really good for us out of the bullpen, even after giving up that home run. He composed himself and allowed us to stay within striking distance. It goes with saying how big Justin’s hit was with two outs and us being down one run. Gulf Coast had a heck of a team and gave us quite a run over the last two days. We are fired up for regionals and hope to continue playing a good brand of baseball.”

The Eagles jumped out to a two-run lead in the bottom of the first on a Josh Rodriguez (Belleville, Nj) two-run homerun that scored Williams.

The Bulldogs would then answer with two runs of their own in the top of the second inning and hold Hinds scoreless in the bottom half.

After a scoreless frame from starting pitcher Connor Nation (Madison) in the top of the third inning, the Eagles would go on to score three runs in the bottom half of the third. Those runs came on a fielder’s choice by Gavin Mink (Olive Branch), an error and a double by Dylan Coleman (Madison).

The cat-and-mouse game would continue in the fourth inning when Gulf Coast would put up three runs to tie the game back at five a piece. Hinds would be held scoreless until the fifth inning when they took a 7-5 lead on a Gentry Tigrett (Brandon) single that scored Clayton Thurman (Vicksburg) and on an error on the Bulldog catcher.

In the top of the sixth inning, Gulf Coast scored one more run to make it a 7-6 game in favor of Hinds. The Bulldogs would then cash in a grand slam in the top of the seventh that gave them a 10-7 lead.

The Eagles made it a one-run game in the bottom of the seventh on a sacrifice-fly by Tigrett that scored Coleman and a double by Williams that scored Thurman.

In the Eagles’ final at-bat, Thurman drew a lead-off walk, which was quickly followed by a Connor Chisolm (Madison) sacrifice-bunt. Then Williams sealed the deal with his walk-off two-run homerun to send the Eagles to the Region 23 tournament.

The Eagles head to Poplarville Monday May 16 for the first game of the 2022 Region 23 Tournament held at Pearl River Community College. Follow @HindsCC_BB on Twitter for updates regarding the tournament.