Defending Class 5A state champion has achieved its first goal on the road to what the Hornets hope will results in yet another celebration at the end of the season.
East Central went on the road to Lucedale Tuesday night and brought home an exciting 8-7 eight-inning win over George County to capture the Region 8-5A regular season championship.
The Hornets jumped out to a seemingly commanding 7-0 lead before the Rebels stormed back with a seven spot in the bottom of the seventh stanza. Southern Miss signee T. J. Dunsford’s RBI-single in the top of the eighth proved to be the game-winner for ECHS.
East Central is now 7-1 in the region race with two more games to play against GCHS to wrap up league play. Vancleave beat Gautier 10-1 Tuesday night, moving the Bulldogs to 4-3 in the standings and just two games behind. the Hornets. But the best Vancleave could do at this point would be to force a tie with ECHS at 6-3, but the Hornets hold the tiebreaker over VHS after taking two out of three in their series two weeks ago.
Dunsford also smacked a solo home run in the win for the Hornets, and drove in two runs total. Anthony Tanner also added two hits, including an RBI-triple while Nathan Trochesett also chipped in a pair of hits to the winning 11-hit attack and Brandt Dickerson had a two-run double.
Brody Howell had the key hit in George County’s seventh-inning rally, as he smashed a three-run home run to tie the game up. Howell had three hits total in the game, while Ben Davis added a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs as well. Case Crawley and Tanner Odom also drove in runs for the Rebels.
Dunsford started and dominated GCHS through the first six stanzas before running out of steam in the seventh. He struck out 10 and allowed just three hits in the first six innings. Tanner took over with one out in the seventh, got out of that frame leaving a pair of runners on base with the game tied, and hurled a scoreless eighth to pick up the win.
Tanner Odom took the loss for GCHS.
The same two teams face off in Hurley Friday and then back in Lucedale Saturday afternoon as the Rebels scramble for a state playoff spot. George County stands 2-4 in the region race, just one game ahead of Gautier which is 1-5.
And the Gators are 1-5 after that aforementioned 10-1 road loss to Vancleave Tuesday night.
The Bulldogs tallied four runs in the third frame and added three more in the fourth to cruise to the comfortable win over the Gators. Vancleave countered Gautier’s only run scored in the top of the fifth by adding three more insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.
Robert Tinson and Aidan Tapp each had a pair of hits apiece to pace VHS at the plate, while Asher Henley drove in a game-high two runs. Layton Eder, Hunter Parker, Tanner Willis, Martin Shaw and Hunter Harper each drove in a run apiece as well.
Parker started and worked just over five innings striking out nine and allowing three hits in earning the win.
The same two teams are back at it again in Gautier Friday night.