PEARL — Defending state champions are a perfect three-for-three in defending their titles in this week’s Mississippi state baseball finals.
Unfortunately for St. Stanislaus, the Rocks were facing one of those recent crown bearers.
Defending Class 3A state champion Amory came back from a 1-0 series deficit after losing to SSC on Tuesday and captured two consecutive wins including rallying from a 2-0 deficit here at Trustmark Park Saturday afternoon to take a 6-2 victory and take home back-to-back state championships for the first time in school history.
It marked the fourth overall state title gold glove for the Panthers, after winning 1n 2022, 1999 and 1997.
The Rocks were aiming for not only their third state crown overall, but also third in a matter of just 13 years. And SSC got off to a pretty good start in attempting to achieve that historic feat.
Ole Miss signee Seth Farni led off the game with a solo homer run deep over the left field wall in this minor league park that is the home of the Mississippi Braves, the AA affiliate of the Atlanta Braves. Just a few batters later, Jeremy Mares doubled the Rocks lead to 2-0 with an RBI-single.
The score stood that way until the bottom of the third frame, when the Panthers scratched out a run on an SSC error to cut the deficit in half at 2-1.
Things would get worse for the Rocks one inning later, when Amory would tally five runs and take control of the game on just two hits and only one of those hits left the infield.
Braden Maranto started things off with an RBI infield single for AHS that tied the game up at 2-2 with one out. Just two batters later, Jack Howell drew a bases-loaded walk to give the Panthers their first lead of the game at 3-2 lead. It would be an advantage they wouldn’t relinquish.
An out later, Ty Hester executed a suicide squeeze bunt that plated a run and gave Amory a 4-2 The final blow came just minutes later when the Panthers plated a pair of runs off a wild pitch and a throwing error to take the final 6-2 lead.
Maranto was named the MVP for the series, one that capped off a tumultuous season for Amory after a tornado nearly destroyed their home field early in the season and caused the Panthers to have to play their home games in other venues for the rest of the stadium.
Amory finished its historic season at 33-5 overall. St. Stanislaus ended the year at 22-14.
In addition to Amory in Class 3A, in Class 1A Resurrection completed a two game sweep of West Union to defend its state title while in Class 2A East Union won its second straight state title by sweeping Pisgah.