University of Southern Mississippi head baseball coach Scott Berry saw fit to sign five student/athletes with ties to the Southern Six” to scholarships in the off-season, and the trio that still are in the midst of their prep careers seem intent on making Berry look good.
T.J. Dunsford, the reigning 5A Mississippi Player of the Year at East Central High School, helped lead his team to the state championship last spring. Dunsford had 41 hits and 30 RBI at the plate while also striking out 107 batters as a pitcher. He also earned first-team all-state honors by SBLive and was one of three non-seniors to earn first-team all-state by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
McCarty English, who preps at Ocean Springs High School, started in 10 games last season and threw 53 1/3 innings. He fanned 81 and walked 25 with a 1.71 ERA. He was a 2022 Perfect Game Southeast Regional honorable mention selection and a preseason player to watch by CaptialSportsMS.com. He added a .220 batting average with three doubles, two triples, two home runs and 14 RBI.
Peyton Lacy, from Pass Christian High School, made the 2022 Sun Herald All-South Mississippi team and a Class 4A all-state selection by the Mississippi Coaches Association. His school reached the second round of the state playoffs. He helped District 8 capture the State Games of Mississippi, going 5-for-8 in the series and picking up a save in the final game.
In the opening week of play last week, in the season-opener for both the Greyhounds and Hornets, Dunsford out-dueled English as ECHS took a 7-3 win over OSHS. East Central has started the season at a perfect 4-0 as the quest for back-to-back state crowns begins.
After dropping two games to the Hornets last week, Ocean Springs bounced back with a 10-0 thumping of visiting Mobile Murphy (Ala.) over the weekend as English helped the Greyhounds get back on track.
Lacy’s Pirates meanwhile, are off to a 3-1 start in most part due to a pair of gems from him on the mound in the past week or so. On Wednesday night, in a game postponed from Monday, Lacy twirled a complete game one-hit shutout against home-standing Harrison Central. He walked just two Red Rebels in the win as well.
Lacy also took it upon himself for offensive support, as he smacked a two-run homer run in the top of the sixth to break open a scoreless tie. Terry Patton added an insurance run for Lacy and the Pirates in the top of the seventh with a run-scoring single.
Harrison Central’s Trey Gaughf was the tough-luck losing pitcher in the close contest, as he hurled six innings and gave up Lacy’s homer but allowed only three hits and struck out a game-high 12 in the process.
In Lacy’s first outing of the season, a 9-0 win over Picayune, the senior standout hurled six innings scattering two hits and striking out 10 Maroon Tide hitters in yet another dominating performance.
Quinton Emerick cracked a three-run home run in the win for the Pirates while Austin Knapp drove in a game-high four runs.
The Pirates, of head coach Ricky Smith, also beat St. Patrick in their home opener over the weekend 10-0. Dylan Welter went four frames and struck out seven to earn the win on the mound, and he also drove in a game-high four runs. Patton added a pair of hits for the Pirates.
Pass Christian’s only loss on the young campaign so far was to Pearl River Central 10-3.