East Central won the Region 8-5A championship Tuesday night with a win over home-standing George County.
On Friday, back home in Hurley, the defending state 5A champions doubled up their pleasure against the Rebels.
The teams met in a doubleheader and the Hornets swept George County winning game one 3-2 and then completing the sweep of the three-game series with a 9-2 decision in game two.
The results of the week wrap up region play for East Central and veteran head coach Bo Long’s squad finishes league play at 8-1 and will receive a first-round bye in the playoffs. The Rebels stand 2-6 in the loop, and must beat Gautier in their region finale on the road Tuesday night to earn the third seed and qualify for the playoffs.
In the opener. Friday, the close contest was knotted up at 1-1 after four innings. But East Central tallied a pair of runs in the fifth inning to take the lead for good and held off the Rebels who added a run in top of the sixth to secure the win.
The Hornets managed just four singles in the win, and Carson Ryder collected half of those and also drove in a run in the win. Nate Trochessett also had an RBI-single for ECHS.
The Rebels actually out-hit the Hornets seven four despite taking the loss, as Ben Davis shared game-hit hit total with Ryder with two hits as well Tripp Lightsey added a run-scoring single for GCHS, and Jacob Eubanks drove in a run as well.
Eli Smith hurled six strong innings for ECHS to pick up the win, striking out two and allowing six hits. Bubba Herrington threw two frames in relief for GCHS and was saddled with the loss.
In the nightcap, East Central, serving as the visiting team, jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the second before blowing open the game with a six spot in the fourth frame to take a commanding 8-0 advantage.
Andrew Marble smacked a two-run home run for the Hornets in the win, while Logan Terry drove in three runs as well for ECHS. Brandt Dickerson had a pair of hits, including an RBI-single, while both Brayson Owenby and Ryder each had a run-scoring single piece as well.
Owenby got the win, as a trio of Hornet hurlers held the Rebels to just two hits total. Dickerson and Fisher Strickler combined with Owenby on the complete game two-hitter.
Tanner Ododm, one of a quartet of Rebel pitchers, started and took the loss.
In other Region 8-5A action Friday night, Vancleave secured the number two seed for playoff purposes in the league with a 13-3 road win over Gautier. The win moved the Bulldogs to 5-3 in league play, and VHS was slated to wrap up region play Saturday afternoon at home against Gautier.
The Gators actually scored all three of their runs in the bottom of the first inning, to take a short-lived 3-0 lead.
The Bulldogs bounced back with four runs in the top of the second to take the lead for good, and then VHS added two runs in the sixth stanza to double its advantage to 6-3.
Vancleave added some “insurance’ in the seventh, tallying seven more runs for the final result.
Tyler West guided VHS at the plate ith a pair of hits as well as two RBIs, while Martin Shaw also had two hits including a run-scoring triple in the winning effort. Hunter Parker rapped a three-run double, and Hunter Harper added two hits as well including a run-scoring double. Aidan Tapp had two hits also for the Bulldogs, while Asher Henley, Robert Tinson and Tanner Willis each drove in a run apiece.
Kaden Irving led Gautier with a pair of hits, while nrique Flores drove in two runs and Sebastian Gonzalez had an RBI as well.
West went six innings and picked up the win for VHS. Quincy Roberts took the loss with a little over six stanzas of work.
The Gators are 1-6 in the region race, and even if the Gators lose to Vancleave in the series finale of that match-up they can still qualify for the Class 5A state playoffs with a win over visiting George County Tuesday night.