PEARL — On Tuesday, St. Stanislaus won game one of the best-of-three Class 3A state championship round as the designated visiting team.
The same scenario played out on Thursday in game two at Trustmark Park, but unfortunately for the Rock-A-Chaws, defending state champion Amory came out of the visitors’ dugout.
The Panthers, looking for back-to-back state championships for the first time ever in school history, staved off elimination with a 8-5 win over SSC to force a third and deciding game three on Saturday.
The Rocks continued their momentum from that game one win early, as Seth Farni led off the bottom of the first with a triple and then scored on an error to give St. Stanislaus a 1-0 lead with no outs. The Rocks made it 2-0 on a Jeremy Mares RBI-sacrifice fly to right field before the first frame ended.
Amory would turn the game around and set the stage for a third game by scoring the next seven runs of the contest.
In the top of the second stanza, Corbin Gillentine got the Panthers on the scoreboard with a RBI-groundout. Cayden Smith then knotted the game up at 2-2 with an RBI-double in the gap to left-center field. Walker Maranto’s run-scoring single to centerfield with two outs scored Amory’s third inning of the frame and also gave the Panthers their first lead of the game at 3-2.
In the next inning, Bryce Glenn’s RBI-single to leftfield put Amory up 4-2.
Braden Maranto continued the scoring parade for Amory with a run-scoring triple to right field in the fourth frame putting the Panthers up 5-2 lead.
In the fifth, Smith’s two-run single to center ran Amory’s consecutive run streak to seven and put the Panthers up 7-2.
St. Stanislaus bounced back a bit though, as in the bottom of the inning Kyle Stegall blasted a two-run double deep to left field that bounced over the wall off to cut the deficit back to three runs at 7-4.
The Panthers scratched out a run on a bases-loaded walk in the top of the sixth to make it 8-4. St. Stanislaus got a solo home run over the left-center field wall for Chesley Rhodes in the bottom of the seventh to cut the deficit to 8-5. Amory out-hit St. Stanislaus 13-7 in the winning effort. Rhodes’ homer was the first of the tourney for anyone.
Glenn took the win with a complete game performance, while Hugh LeMasters, the first of three SSC pitchers, took the loss. Game three is set for 1 p.m., Saturday afternoon here at the home of the Mississippi Braves, the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves.
St. Stanislaus is looking for its third state championship on the baseball diamond for the third time in school history, but also for the third time in just 13 seasons after the Rocks won Class 4A state titles in both 20010 and 2015. This marks the first time ever that St. Stanislaus has played for a Class 3A state crown.