A trio of cross-over home and home series in Class 5A between Region 7-5A and Region 8-5A squads highlight action in the second largest classification statewide in the “Southern Six” this week.
Picayune heads to Vancleave Tuesday night and the Bulldogs will make a return trip to Kent Kirkland Field on Friday, while Pearl River Central will travel to Lucedale to face home-standing George County on Thursday night and the Rebels will turn around and head over the Carriere the next night on Friday. Also on Tuesday and Friday, East Central travels to Long Beach and then the Bearcats make a return trip to Hurley/Wade three days later.
The trio of match-ups features the Class 5A state champions from 2022 (ECHS) and 2017 (PRC) as well as the Class 4A state champions from 2018 (VHS) and a team that played for three championships spread out over a four-year span in 2015, 2016 and 2018 (GCHS) in Class 6A and Class 5A.
Vancleave is coming off an 8-1 loss to Long Beach on Friday night. W.P.Bermudez picked up the win on the hill for the Bearcats, hurling six strong innings while scattering four hits and allowing the lone Bulldog run while striking out nine. He received support at the plate from several teammates, including Nathan Kenworthy who drove in a pair of runs with a double and a triple as well as Ashton Schepens and Will Brady each of whom collected two hits and an RBI apiece. Jake Thomas and Wesley Watson each had a pair of hits in the winning 12-hit attack, while Bermudez and Brady Watts also each drove in a run.
Asher Jenley recorded two hits and drove in that lone Bulldog run, while Tyler West took the loss.
Picayune is coming off a pair of recent wins, as the Maroon Tide beat Gautier 8-3 on Thursday and then Forrest County AHS 6-3 on Saturday afternoon.
In the win over the Gators, Kyler King, and Cooper Moreaux each led Picayune with three hits apiece and Moreaux drove in a pair of runs while King added an RBI-triple. Jamie Lumpkin collected a pair of hits and a pair of RBIs, while Tanner Busby had a run-scoring double and Parker Helton had a double also.
Moreaux picked up the win, while Quincy Roberts took the loss for Gautier.
East Central beat Parklane Academy last week 11-1 but the Hornets followed that up with an 8-3 loss to Columbia entering Tuesday night’s play against Long Beach.
Carson Ryder had four hits in the win over Parklane, and Southern Miss signee T.J. Dunsford added three hits including a pair of doubles. Anthony Tanner had a pair of hits and drove in a run, while both Bryson Overby and mason Prouty each drove in a pair of runs for ECHS in the 11-hit attack. Owenby also picked up the pitching win.
Eli Smith started and took the loss against Columbia, while Ryder had a pair of hits and Brandt Dickerson drove in a pair of runs for ECHS in the loss.
George Couty is on a five-game winning streak coming into this week’s pair of contests against PRC. The Rebels’ last loss came to Picayune on Friday, Feb. 24th.