Ready for Round 2… Eight area teams alive in second round
Meridian, 23-12, needed three games to get past Long Beach to advance to a best-of-three series with Forest Hill, 21-9. The Rebels also needed three games to knock off Biloxi.
Game 1 is slated for tonight at 6 p.m. at John Moss Field. Game 2 is Saturday at 6 p.m. at Jackson, with a third game at 6 p.m. on Monday at John Moss.
Leading the Meridian offense are Sanduan Dubose (12 doubles, 5 HRs), Kris Barnett (10 doubles), Ricky McMillian (7 doubles), Torry Bates (6 doubles), John Iverson (6 doubles, 2 triples), Richmond Alexander, and John Stevens.
Iverson is 8-2 on the mound. Other top hurlers are John Hays Compton and Jason Spinks (4-0).
Sidearmer Joey Dearman (8-4) got both wins in Forest Hill's series with Biloxi. David Burt is 3-2.
Top Rebel batters are Raphael Ward (17 doubles, 6 triples), Quincy Walker (12 doubles, 5 triples), and Calvin Triplett (3 HRs).
West Lauderdale, the defending Class 3A state champion, hosts North Pike in the first game of that series tonight at 6 p.m. Game 2 is Saturday at 6 p.m. at Summit with a third game, if needed, Monday at 6 p.m. at Collinsville.
The Knights are 30-3, while the Jaguars enter the series at 22-2. West swept Purvis 10-0 and 10-2 in first-round action, while North Pike took McLaurin 11-0 and 6-4.
The Knights had little problem with Purvis behind the pitching of Todd Doolittle (10-0) and Ryan Clay (7-2).
Bubby Van Norman is 10-1 for the Jaguars after getting both wins against McLaurin. Top hitters for North Pike are Phillip Coffey (10 doubles), J.R. Alexander (6 doubles, 3 triples), and Michael Clements (5 doubles, 3 triples, 10 HRs).
Clarkdale, 25-6, faces Lumberton, 23-11, in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs. The Panthers needed three games to oust West Lowndes. Clarkdale swept Loyd Star (5-2 and 4-3).
Leading the Bulldogs are Chris Moffett (7 doubles), Brandon Mabry (8 doubles), Matt Minchew (4 doubles, 2 HRs), Mark Taylor (5 doubles), and Jeffery Stokes (4 doubles).
Moffett is 8-2 on the mound, while Andy Thomas is 7-0.
Game 1 is tonight at 7 p.m. at Clarkdale with Game 2 slated for 1 p.m. Saturday at Lumberton. A third game, if needed, would be Monday at Clarkdale at 7 p.m.
Lumberton's Josh Parks had three of his 15 doubles in Saturday's 11-1 win over West Lowndes. Dominique Lee added a pair of home runs. Other top hitters for Lumberton are Ben Townsend (12 doubles), Keelan Jones (9 doubles), and Thomas Royals (10 doubles, 4 triples, 2 HRs).
Royals is 7-2 on the mound, while Rafael Rogers is 5-0.
In Class 4A, Louisville spotted Cleveland the series opener before taking the next two games to advance to this week's second-round series with Pearl.
Top pitchers for Charlie Smith's 19-11 Wildcats are Tyler Rogers (4-1), Jared Vaughn (7-3), and Brandon Dotson (1-0).
Leading the 29-7 Pearl Pirates is Jake Bell (8-2) and Flint Roberts (4-1). Bell is batting .443 with 10 doubles, two triples, and three homers. One of Bell's pitching wins was against then-No. 1 Warren Central.
In Class 2A, Philadelphia, 22-7, gets St. Andrew's, 19-12, for its second-round opponent. The teams met twice during the regular season with St. Andrew's taking 2-1 and 10-2 wins. The 2-1 game took 10 innings to decide.
Hickory native Mark Fanning coaches the Saints of St. Andrew's who needed three games to get past Morton.
Leading the Tornadoes are Jeff Kilgore (8 doubles), Caleb Breland (8 doubles, 3 HRs), Jonathan Booker (7 doubles, 6 HRs), Ty Culpepper (6 doubles, 5 HRs), William Mars, Dustin Turner, and Tyler Threadgill.
Breland is 6-1 on the mound, while Hunter Holley is 5-1, Booker is 5-2 and Culpepper is 2-3.
For St. Andrew's, Jim Henegan has six doubles, four triples, and six homers. Other top Saints are Sherwood Collette (10 doubles, 3 HRs), Trea Brown (9 doubles, 2 triples), Jeff Tomlinson (9 doubles), and Abram Orlansky (5 doubles).
Philadelphia swept St. John 7-4 and 4-3 in the first round.
Game 1 is Friday at 6 p.m. at Philadelphia with Game 2 Saturday at 1 p.m. at Ridgeland. A third game, if needed, would be Monday at 6 p.m. at Philadelphia.
In Class 1A, Union and Lake both earned easy first-round wins. Union swept Mize (9-3 and 17-5), while Lake took two straight from Bogue Chitto (5-2 and 10-0).
Lake, the defending Class 1A state champion, draws Mercy Cross in the second round. Game 1 is slated for Friday at 7 p.m. at Lake. Game 2 is set for Saturday at 1 p.m. at Biloxi with a third game, if needed, Monday at 7 p.m. at Lake.
Craig Martin is 8-0 on the mound for the 23-6 Hornets with eight doubles, while Eric Watkins is 5-2. Top hitters are Jake Nester (5 HRs), Jason McGee (6 doubles), Bryan Williamson (7 doubles), and Brandon Burrus (5 doubles).
Key players for the 20-5 Crusaders of Mercy Cross are Buddy Pellegrino (11 doubles, 4 triples), Mark David Howard (6 doubles), Richard O'Barr (5 doubles), and Nick Moody (4 triples, 4 HRs).
Howard has a pitching record of 10-1, while O'Barr is 4-2.
Union, 21-11, faces St. Aloysius, 20-2, in the second round. The series opens Friday at 6 p.m. at Union with a second game Saturday at 1 p.m. at Vicksburg. A third game, if needed, would be Monday at Union.
Leading the Yellow Jackets are Justin Darby (8-1), B.J. Norton, Jody Blount (4-2), Brooks Vance, Eric Graham, Wes Henry, and Zack Robinson.
The Flames of St. Aloysius are led by Aaron George who is 8-0 on the mound and has belted eight round trippers. Blake Warnock (3 doubles, 7 triples, and 3 HRs), Clay Simmons (4 doubles, 4 HRs), and Alex Frisbee (4 doubles) are other top Flashes.
In Class 3A, Forest needed three games to eliminate Franklin County last week. Next up for the Bearcats is Greene County.
Leading the Bearcats are Drew Chance (10 doubles), Wes Cox (7 doubles, 2 HRs), Trey Clark (6 doubles, 2 HRs), Paul Brown (7 doubles), Drew Kenna (2 HRs), and Mario Thomas (2 HRs).
Kenna is 5-2 on the mound, while Thomas is 4-0.
Leading Greene County, which swept Southeast Lauderdale (3-1 and 21-2) in the first round, are Chad McIlwain (13 doubles, 2 triples, 2 HRs), Lynn Simpson (8 doubles), Elliot Burch (9 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HRs), and Gary Dixon (7 doubles, 6 HRs).
McIlwain is 9-3 on the mound, while Luke Mills is 4-1.
Game 1 is set for tonight at 6 p.m. at Forest with Game 2 on tap for 7 p.m. Saturday at Leakesville. A third game, if needed, would be at Forest Monday at 6 p.m.
Third-round series are slated for May 3-7 with state championship series May 10-14.
Marty Stamper is a sports writer for The Meridian Star. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.