PEARL — The Gulfport Admirals sail into the Class 6A state championship round this here week at Trustmark Park looking to add at least a pair of historic milestones to their successful season before the current campaign comes to an end.
First, veteran head coach Jamie McMahon’s squad is trying to capture just the second state baseball championship in school history, with the only one to date coming 38 years ago in 1985. Secondly, Gulfport aims to become the first and only school from the “Southern Six” ever to win a Class 6A state title since the MHSAA expanded to six classes in 2010.
The Admirals face Lewisburg in the best-of-three title series beginning Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
“You always want to be playing your best baseball of the year at the right time, and hopefully we can continue to keep doing that,” McMahon said recently. “We’ve found a way to get it done so far in the playoffs, but we know we’ve still got work to do to get to where we want to be.”
The Admirals stand 25-12 overall, and last played for the state title in 2017 when they fell to Tupelo.
The Patriots are 27-8 overall, and last played for the state championship in 2018 falling to Hattiesburg in Class 5A. Lewisburg also has won one state title in program history, beating Newton County in the Class 4A state title round in 2013.
The Patriots are led by a veteran group of players, several of which will be playing on the next level. Included in that group are pitcher/infielder Gage Haley who is a Mississippi State signee, pitcher Cayden Baker who is a Baylor commit, outfielder Sam Richardson who is a Missouri commit as well as infielder Austin Hannigan a Southeastern Louisiana commit and lefty pitcher Talon Haley who is a Vanderbilt commit and also infielder/pitcher Jarrett Morris who is an Itawamba CC signee.
Gulfport is guided by standout ace pitcher Josh Lee, also a Southeastern Louisiana signee, as well as pitcher/infielder Ethan Surowiec who is an Ole Miss commit and outfielder Jacob Palazzo who has signed with Gulf Coast CC signee plus outfielder/pitcher Nicholas Williams who is a Pearl River CC commit and outfielder Ethan Garner who has been linked to Tulane.
Each team has lost just once in the state playoffs up to this point, and the Admirals have two more postseason wins than do the Patriots. Gulfport, the second seed from Region 8-6A, swept past St. Martin (5-0, 10-7), Warren Central (3-1, 10-9) and Brandon (5-2, 4-3) before out-lasting defending Class 6A state champion Northwest Rankin in three games in the South State finals (6-5, 1-8, 12-11).
Lewisburg, the Region 1-6A champs, have sandwiched sweeps of Clinton in the opening round (2-1, 1-0) and Germantown (7-0, 4-3) in the North State finals around a three-game series win over always powerful Oxford (2-1, 3-4, 4-3).
Ocean Springs in 2008 in Class 5A was the last team from the “Southern Six” to take home a state baseball championship in the largest classification in the state of Mississippi.