The St. Stanislaus Rock-A-Chaws are one win away from making their first appearance in the state championship since winning it all in 2015.
Home-standing SSC knocked off Clarkdale 5-1 on Thursday night in game one of their best-of-tree Class 3A South State finals match-up.A road win for the Rocks Saturday night in Clarkdale will wrap up the series and send SSC into the state title round.
Hill Gainey proved to be a mountain too big for the Bulldogs to climb on Thursday night, as the St. Stanislaus senior pitcher produced yet another productive pitching performance in picking up the win as he went almost five frames on the hill striking out four and allowing five hits.
Seth Farni came on in relief and got the last out of the fifth and in all recorded the last seven outs of the game to seal the game-one win.
The Rocks broke open a 1-1 tie with a run in the bottom of the fifth, before adding another single run in the next frame to make it 3-1. St. Stanislaus plated a pair of insurance runs in the sixth to close out the scoring.
Chesley Rhodes gave SSC an early 1-0 lead with a solo home run in the bottom of the first frame on Tuesday night before play was halted for weather issues and resumed on Thursday night.
Jeremy Mares led SSC at the plate with a pair of hits, while Brady Willis also dove in a run for the Rocks.
Meanwhile, in Class 6A, Gulfport also won game one of its South State finals match-up at home against Northwest Rankin, and the Admirals could have punched their ticket to the state title round with a win on the road Friday night.
But the defending Class 6A state champion Cougars had other ideas.
Northwest Rankin overcame that 6-5, 11-inning loss in game one on Thursday and grounded Gulfport 8-1 in game two in Flowood. Game three is set for back in Gulfport on Monday night at 6 p.m.
The Cougars got a complete game performance from Gabe Hodges in the win, as he kept the Admirals at bay all night. He struck out four, allowed five hits, and walked three.
Northwest Rankin wasted no time in setting the tone, as the Cougars took a 2-0 lead in the top of the second and never allowed the Admirals to challenge that lead.
Trey Davidson cracked a solo home run for the Cougars in the third frame to make it 3-0, and later Northwest Rankin stretched its lead to as much as 7-0 thanks in part to a two-run blast by Chase Brown.
Tucker Jones, Dawson Muenzenmay and Brown each recorded two hits in the winning effort.
Nicholas Williams started and took the loss for Gulfport.
Jacob Palazzo had a double and Dawson Hall drove in the lone GHS run in the game with an RBI-single in the top of the sixth.