HURLEY — With a three-game sweep last week, East Central has put itself in a prime position in the Region 8-5A race.
The Hornets finished up the trio of wins in a four-day span over Gautier with a 7-0 shutout Friday night over the Gators. East Central also picked up a 6-4 win on Tuesday and a 14-1 win on Thursday, as the Hornets moved into sole possession of first place in the league standings at 5-1 with a two-game cushion and the tie-breaker over Vancleave.
On Thursday, East Central pushed across six runs in the second stanza to take control on the contest. The Hornets added eight runs over the next three frames to end the contest after just five innings.
Logan Terry smacked a two-run home run amongst his two hits and he drove in a game-high three runs for ECHS, while Nate Trochessett added a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs to the win as well. Brayson Owenby and Carson Ryder each drove in a pair of runs as well for the Hornets.
Eli Smith went for innings and struck out seven to pick up the win.
Marcus Cunningham took the loss.
On Friday, the Hornets celebrated “Senior Night” with the 7-0 shutout win to extend their region win streak to four.
Ryder collected a pair of hits and drove in a pair of runs to pace ECHS at the plate, and Smith added two hits including a double. T.J. Dusford, Andrew Marble, Terry and Anthony Tanner each drove in a run apiece in the win.
Owenby worked the first four frames striking out nine and allowing two hits to take the win. His teammates tallied three runs in the first inning and added four more in the fourth before his departure.
Ole Miss signee Kaden Irving and Cunningham each had a double for the Gators in the game, while Quincy Roberts took the pitching loss.
East Central will now head into the final week of region play with a two-game lead over second place Vancleave which sits 3-3. The Hornets took two out of three games over the Bulldogs to open league play recently.
Vancleave made its own push for the playoffs this week taking two out of three games from George County including a pair of road wins.
After beating the Rebels 1-0 in Lucedale on Tuesday, GCHS bounced back and took a 4-0 win over the Bulldogs in Vancleave Thursday.
George County managed only four hits in the winning effort, as Tripp Lightsey led the way with a two-run double for the Rebels. Taite Davis also drove in a run for GCHS.
Andrew Nielsen started and tossed six shutout stanzas for the Rebels to pick up the win, striking out five and scattering four hits. Tanner Odom closed out the seventh with no issues.
Sophomore Hunter Harper went the distance for the Bulldogs, taking the loss as he allowed the four hits while striking out four and walking one.
The teams met again Friday morning back in Lucedale, and the Bulldogs pulled out the 5-4 win in a huge region contest for both teams.
The Bulldogs jumped out to a 3-0 advantage after two innings and eventually built that lead up to 5-1 after the top of the seventh before the Rebels rallied for three runs in their last at-bat but fell short.
Sophomore Martin Shaw had two hits, including a double, and drove in a pair of runs to pace VHS at the plate. Aidan Tapp tallied a run-scoring triple in the win, while Robert Tinson also drove in a run.
Tyler West threw six innings to get the win, allowing nine hits and all four runs while Levi Tapp came on in the seventh to seal the win for the save.
Brody Howell and Case Crawley each had two hits and drove in a run and Ben Davis had two hits as well for the Rebels. Gage Reeves and Tanner Odom also drove in a run apiece.
Reeves started and took the loss.
Next up, George County and East Central square off in an important three-game series beginning Tuesday, while Vancleave and Gautier play a three-game set this coming week as well beginning on the same night.