FULTON • The COVID-19 pandemic cut the defending conference champion Itawamba Community College Indians' title defense short, but the Tribe finished the abbreviated season with many positives.
Just days before conference play began, the season was put on hold and eventually cancelled, but the Indians were ranked No. 10 in the nation and in the top 10 in numerous stats.
The Indians, who finished with an 11-5 record, were eighth in the nation with 151 runs, sixth in home runs (19), eighth in RBI (130), second in team batting average (.393), second in slugging percentage (.631) and first in on-base percentage (.503).
Leading the Indian offense that was explosive at times was freshman Ben Fryar (Ripley), who had a .500 batting average over 16 games with 15 RBI, 19 runs scored, nine doubles, a triple and a pair of home runs.
Three other Indian starters hit over .400 in the shortened season with sophomore short stop and Middle Tennessee State commit, Brett Coker (Hendersonville, Tenn.) hitting .444 and leading the team with 21 RBI. Tyler Murphy (Columbus) finished his freshman season hitting .421 with 17 RBI and two home runs, and Bailey Allbritton (Duck Hill) hit .404.
Sophomore centerfielder Lane Domino led the Indians with five home runs, and Coker was close behind with four.
On the mound, sophomore reliever David Rowland (Florence, Ala.) led the team with a 1.17 ERA, allowing only two earned runs in 15.1 innings pitched and 18 strikeouts. Freshman Will Armistead led the Tribe in strikeouts with 19 and innings pitched with 21.
As the Indians outscored opponents 151-54 this season, they picked up five shutouts and seven run-rule victories.
The Indians faced some tough opponents, but none tougher than the top-10 doubleheader against No. 8 ranked Southeastern Community College out of Iowa. The doubleheader was as advertised with two close battles, but the Indians dropped an 8-5 decision game one, before picking up the split with an 8-7 come-from-behind victory in game two.
A pair of Indians earned Player of the Week honors from the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC). Freshman catcher Riley Davis (Collierville, Tenn.) earned the weekly honor for his opening day performance and sophomore first baseman Kylan Carter (Houston) for his 12 RBI week in early March.