There are some Major League World Series match-up that didn’t take as long to finish as did the Class 5A South State semifinal match-up between Vancleave and West Jones.
But after nine days, four postponements and three games, not only did the series come to a close but so did the season for the Bulldogs.
The home-standing Mustangs clipped Vancleave 5-2 Thursday night to take the match-up two games to one. West Jones know moves on to face defending Class 5A State champion East Central in the South State final round. That series begins Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m., in Hurley.
The Bulldogs would loved to have faced off with their arch-rival Hornets for the second consecutive season with a shot at a trip to the state championship, but West Jones had other ideas Thursday night.
The Mustangs jumped out to a 2-0 lead quickly in the first inning, but the Bulldogs had one last battle in them as they fought back.
In the top of the third, VHS junior standout Hunter Parker cracked a two-run double to knot things up at 2-2. Parker’s hit drove in both Asher Henley and Tanner Willis after Henley walked and Willis reached on a fielder’s choice.
But Region 6-5A champion West Jones immediately answered and retook the lead in the bottom of the frame, setting the tone for the rest of the contest.
The Mustangs went on to add single runs in both of the fourth and fifth frames, and close out the Bulldogs in the final four innings and wrapped up the win.
Vancleave managed just four hits off a pair of WJHS pitchers in the loss, but three of the hits were doubles as in addition to Parker both Robert Tinson and Tyler West had a two-bagger as well.
Sophomore Hunter Harper started and took the loss, while Parker relived and finished up the game.
Vancleave, under the direction of veteran head coach Justin Edwards, finishes its season at 24-13 after a postseason run that reached the third round.
East Central will host game one of the Class 5A South State finals Saturday, before the scene shifts to Soso for game two on Monday night. A game three in the series, if needed, is scheduled for back in Hurley on Tuesday night.
The Hornets are coming off a South State semifinal series win over Picayune in which each team won their home games in the three-game set. East Central dispatched Vancleave in last years South State finals two games to one en route to its state championship series win over Neshoba Central in two straight games.
The winner of the South State finals will face the survivor of the Noth State finals match-up between Ridgeland and Saltillo.