The quest begins … Ten area teams begin baseball playoffs
By By Marty Stamper/The Meridian Star
April 18, 2001
No less than 10 area baseball teams will be participating in the Mississippi High School Activities Association's state playoffs which get under way Thursday.
First-round series are scheduled for Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.
In Class 5A, Division 5 champion Meridian will host Division 8 runner-up Long Beach Thursday at 6 p.m., with Game 2 slated for Friday at 6 p.m., at Long Beach. A third game, if needed, would be at Meridian Saturday at 1 p.m.
Meridian enters the playoffs with a 21-11 record, while Long Beach is making its first appearance since 1996. The Bearcats improved to 18-7 with a playoff-clinching 5-4 win over Harrison Central Thursday.
In Class 4A, 17-10 Louisville, the Division 2 runner-up, travels to Cleveland, 19-9, Thursday for a 6 p.m., series opener. Game 2 is slated for Louisville Friday at 6 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be at Cleveland Saturday with a noon start due to both schools having proms that night.
In Class 3A, West Lauderdale, Southeast Lauderdale and Forest all advanced to the playoffs.
West Lauderdale, the defending Class 3A state champion and current 5-3A champ, will host Purvis Thursday at 6 p.m., with a second game Friday at Purvis at 6 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be at Collinsville Saturday at 1 p.m. The Knights enter the playoffs with a 28-3 record.
Southeast Lauderdale, 5-3A runner-up, travels to Leakesville to play Greene County in its series opener Thursday at 7 p.m. The Tigers will host Greene County Friday at 7 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be Saturday at 1 p.m., at Leakesville. The Tigers are 9-8 heading into the playoffs.
Forest, 7-3A champion, opens its series with Franklin County Thursday at Forest. The Bearcats travel to Meadville for Game 2 on Friday. A third game, if needed, would be at Forest Saturday.
Clarkdale and Philadelphia both made the Class 2A state playoffs as division champions.
Clarkdale, 7-2A champion, hosts Loyd Star Thursday at 6 p.m. with Game 2 slated for 6 p.m. Friday at Loyd Star (near Brookhaven). A third game, if needed, would be at Clarkdale Saturday at 2 p.m. The Bulldogs are 23-6 after Monday's 12-3 win at Union.
Philadelphia, the 5-2A champion, will host Gulfport St. John on Thursday at 6 p.m., before heading to the coast to face the Eagles in Game 2 Friday at 6 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be at Burnside Park outside Philadelphia on Saturday. The Tornadoes take a 20-7 record into the playoffs. St. John evened its record at 11-11 with a 6-2 win over Bassfield on Thursday.
In Class 1A, Union, Noxapater, and Lake all earned playoff berths.
Union, the 5-1A champion, will host Mize Thursday at 5 p.m. in Game 1, with Game 2 set for Friday at Mize at 6:30 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be at 1 p.m., Saturday at Union. The Yellow Jackets fell to 19-11 with Monday's loss to Clarkdale.
Lake, the defending Class 1A state champion, opens its title defense Thursday at Bogue Chitto. The Hornets tied with St. Aloysius in Division 6-1A record-wise, but the Flashes won the run-differential tiebreaker. Game 2 is at Lake Friday. A third game, if needed, would be at Bogue Chitto on Saturday. Lake carries a 21-6 mark into the series with the Bobcats.
Noxapater, the 5-1A runner-up, travels to Biloxi to face Mercy Cross in its best-of-three series opener Thursday. Game 2 is at Noxapater on Friday. A third game, if needed, would be played in Biloxi Saturday.
The Tigers finished the regular season with a 13-7 record. The 8-1A champion Crusaders were 18-5 as of Thursday's 17-1 rout of Piney Woods.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.