MHS Cats knocked out of playoffs
from staff reports
April 27, 2004
OLIVE BRANCH The Conquistadors' top four hitters pounded out eight hits with two doubles and two homers to lead Olive Branch to a 9-4 win over the Meridian High School Wildcats on Monday in the first round of the Class 5A baseball playoffs.
The Conquistadors, who are ranked third in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger's statewide poll, finished the game with 10 hits as a team, as they eliminated the Wildcats from the postseason.
"They cut it loose today," said Meridian High head baseball coach Vince McLemore, whose team finished the season with a 22-9 record and ranked 12th in the statewide poll.
Chad Mitchell started the hitting feast for the top four spots in Olive Branch's lineup in the bottom of the first inning with a one-out double. Conquistador catcher Edward Easley followed with a two-run home run to take a 2-0 lead.
Meridian High got one run back in the top of the third inning, as Lindsey Spinks, who recorded two hits in the game, reached base with a single and stole second.
Wildcats shortstop Chris Harris followed with a fly ball to center fielder that the outfielder couldn't handle, allowing Spinks to score to cut Meridian High's deficit to 2-1.
Olive Branch didn't allow Meridian High to stay close to the lead long, as the Conquistadors scored four runs on two singles and two homers for a 6-1 lead.
Olive Branch added two more runs in the fourth inning, tacking on its final run in the bottom of the fifth off a double and an RBI single for a 9-1 lead.
Meridian High tallied two runs in the top of the sixth to reduce Olive Branch's lead to 9-3. Fernando Atterberry reached base after being hit by a pitch, and later scored on a wild pitch. Harris and Kimone McDade each hit singles, and Rodney Warren drove in Harris with a double.
Kedric Martin drove in the Wildcats' last run with a double in the top of the seventh.
"We tried to scratch our way back into the game, but we couldn't get anything going consistently," McLemore said.
Ken Mitts (7-2) took the loss for Meridian High, giving up six runs on six hits with three strikeouts in 2.1 innings. Tyler McMullen finished the game on the mound for the Wildcats, allowing three runs off four hits with four strikeouts.
This was the fourth straight year the Wildcats reached the state playoffs, and it was the fourth consecutive year the team posted 20-plus wins.
"I feel we got the best out them," said McLemore, whose 23-man roster had only five seniors. "My hat goes off to them, and to my assistant coaches Shay Cooper, Curtis Grace and Will Sellman for the outstanding job they did with a young team.
"I wouldn't mind taking a week off and starting again," added McLemore, who had three freshmen and two sophomores in the starting lineup in the last month of the season. "The future looks bright, but we will miss the departing seniors they were instrumental in this year's success."