In a battle between a pair of early-season unbeaten teams in Class 5A in the “Southern Six”, visiting Vancleave knocked off Real River Central Tuesday night 5-1 in Carriere.
The win moved the Bulldogs to a solid 3-0 on the young campaign, while the loss left the Blue Devils with a 3-1 mark. The match-up pitted the 2017 Class 5 state champs PRC vs. the 2018 state champion VHS.
Vancleave took a lead it would never relinquish in the third frame as the Bulldogs plated a pair of runs. Head coach Justin Edwards’ squad went on to notch single runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings as well to wrap up the win in the early season battle between the perennial Class 5A state powers.
Junior Hunter Parker started on the mound for VHS and hurled the first five frames to take the win, as he scattered two hits and struck out four in the process.
Parker also helped himself out at the plate when he wasn’t on the hill, collecting a team-high two hits including an RBI-double. Asher Henley also drove in a run in the win for the Bulldogs.
Caleb Dyess recorded two of the Blue Devils’ three hits on the night, and Austin gill drove in the lone PRC run.
Dyess pitched four innings for PRC, allowing six hits and striking out six in taking the loss.
The same two teams meet again on Friday night in Vancleave. East Central and fellow region rival and defending Class 5A state champion East. central are both unbeaten so far this season.
That win by the Bulldogs continued an early season trend of several wins by teams in Region 8-5A over their Region 7-5A foes, as George County knocked off Long Beach twice in the opening week of play last week followed by East Central beating West Harrison 6-1 on Monday and Gautierr beating LBHS on Monday as well.
But as Vancleave was in the process of handing PRC its first loss of the season, six miles south that trend was ending as Picayune was doing the same thing to visiting George County.
The Rebels marched into Picayune with a 3-0 record also, but the Maroon Tide got an excellent outing from starting pitcher Tanner Busby on the mound, as he twirled a complete game two-hitter in a 3-1 Picayune win.
Busby struck out nine in the dominant performance, scattering the two hits and walking just two in the seven-inning stint.
Brady Robertson got a big two-run single in the win for the Maroon Tide, while Morgan Craft added a key RBI-single as well in the winning effort as Picayune moved to 2-2 overall.
Gage Reeves collected a run-scoring single for GCHS, while Taite Davis registered a double in the loss for the Rebels. Brody Howell took the loss, working into the sixth stanza and allowing five hits and all three runs two earned) but striking out 10 as well.
Both teams meet again in Lucedale Friday night.