By Austin Bishop
The Choctaw Plaindealer
Seventy-two of he best senior high school baseball players in the MHSAA are set to gather together at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson this weekend for the 41st Annual D.M. Howie High School All-Star Baseball Games.
The contests, which are set for 1 p.m. for the 4A/5A/6A game and 5:30 p.m. for the 1A/2A/3A contest, are sponsored by the Crossroads Diamond Club. Tickets to watch both nine-inning games are $10 per person.
The South leads the North 15-13 in the small school series, while holding an 18-11 margin in the large school series.
Among the 18 players on the 1A/2A/3A North roster are Dalton Hudspeth and Channing Wall of Louisville, Stewart Ball of Nanih Waiya, Josh Carpenter of Winona, and Drew Lann of MHSAA Class 1A Champion Smithville. The coaches are Will Lowrey of Tupelo Christian and Steve Chambliss of Independence.
Highlighting the 1A/2A/3A South roster are Brody Bray and Jordan Hayes of MHSAA Class 2A Champion Taylorsville, and Mason Irby of Southeast Lauderdale. Coaching the South are Craig Martin of Sebastopol, and Miller Todd of Madison St. Joseph.
Leading the 4A/5A/6A North squad will be Ryan Lane of West Lauderdale, Will Goslan and Taylor Stafford of New Hope, and Clay Casey, Drew Crosby, and Kyle Watson of DeSoto Central. The North is coached by Lee Boyd of New Hope and Rob Scarbrough of Corinth.
The South 4A/5A/6A squad features Taylor Braley and Kirk McCarty of Oak Grove, and Peyton Cain and Cale Hollingsworth of Newton County. The South is coached by Ryan Neely of Mendenhall and Cain Stockstill of Picayune.
Six state baseball champions decided in Pearl
Only two of the best-of-three series to determine the baseball champions in all six MHSAA classes were pushed to a third game at Trustmark Park in Pearl on Saturday, and one of those was a classic.
Oak Grove’s Taylor Braley tossed a two-hitter on just one day’s rest to lead the Warriors to a 2-1 win over DeSoto Central in Class 6A. The victory gave 27-6 Oak Grove its 11th state baseball championship, while DeSoto fell to 28-10.
DeSoto had defeated Oak Grove 12-11 on Thursday to force a their game, after the Warriors had taken Wednesday’s first game 8-1.
After being stunned by West Jones 5-4 in the first game of the MHSAA Class 5A State Championship Series, New Hope bounced back to beat the Mustangs 3-0 on Friday and then take an 11-0 win in just five innings in the deciding game on Saturday.
Taylorsville took advantage of 11 Eupora errors over a two-game span to sweep Eupora 10-6 and 7-1 to take the Class 2A championship. Taylorsville’s Brody Bray struck out 11 and tossed a complete game one-hitter in the Tartars’ title-clinching win on Friday.
Smithville defeated Natchez Cathedral 6-1 on Wednesday and 6-2 on Thursday to sweep the 1A Championship Series and win their first baseball championship. Kossuth won the 3A Series by beating Sumrall 7-6 in 11 innings on Wednesday, then taking a 4-3 victory on Friday. It was the second consecutive year Kossuth defeated Sumrall for the state championship.
West Lauderdale, arguably the best high school baseball team in the state this season, didn’t give up a run in sweeping its Class 4A Series with Purvis. West Stokes tossed a three-hitter as WL won the first game 3-0 and Ryan Lane pitched a two-hitter in the 5-0 win on Friday. It was West Lauderdale’s 13th state championship in baseball.