While the Class 5A South state finals situation will be decided Saturday night, the last remaining Class 4A team from the “Southern Six” saw its season come to an end Friday night.
In Class 5A, Picayune forced a third and deciding game with defending stat champion East central with a 7-4 win in Pearl River County Friday night. The teams face off one last night in Hurley in game three set for 7 p.m., Saturday night.
The winner of that series will meet either Vancleave or West Jones next week in the Class 5A South State finals. The Mustangs lead the Bulldogs 1-0 in the best of three series, after a 4-3 win in Soso on Tuesday. The second game was postponed from Friday night to Saturday night due to wet playing conditions at “The Landing” in Vancleave.
And Stone saw it successful season come to an end in Class 4A with a 14-2 road loss to perennial state power Purvis Friday night.
In Picayune Friday night, the home-standing Maroon Tide jumped out to a quick 5-0 lead in the first frame, chasing East Central starter Eli Smith in the process of taking a lead they would never relinquish.
Brady Robertson plated the first run of the game with an RBI-single, and Parker Helton drove in the fifth run of the uprising with an run-scoring ground out. In between, Brunson Stockstill and Tanner Busby drew RBI-walks with the bases loaded and Justin Stockstill drove in a run when he was hit by a pitch in the same situation. In all, a pair of ECHS pitchers walked four Picayune batters and hit two more in the inning.
From there, it was all Picayune’s to lose but the Maroon Tide was all set on forcing a Saturday night special in Jackson County.
The Hornets broke onto the scoreboard with a run in the third and then rallied for three more runs in the sixth to cut the deficit to one run at 5-4.
But Picayune countered with two insurance runs in the bottom of that stanza to secure the win.
Picayune got a big night at the plate from Kyler King, who collected a game-high three hits amongst the Tide’s total of five. Busby drove in a team-high two runs, and Landon Watts added an RBI also to the winning effort.
Robertson started on the mound and worked five frames to pick up the win, striking out seven. King followed with two innings of relief work to earn a save and keep Picayune’s season alive.
For the Hornets, T.J. Dunsford drove in a pair of runs and Anthony Tanner had a double. Smith started and took the loss on the hill, and was followed by five more Hornet hurlers.