Both Region 8-5A champ East Central and league second seed Vancleave came up with impressive wins in differing fashions to open the second round of the Class 5A Sout State playoffs Tuesday night.
The home-standing Hornets, the defending Class 5A state champions, exploded for 10 runs in the bottom of the second stanza and went on to thump Florence 13-0 in five frames. The Bulldogs went on the road and slipped past Region 6-6A champ South Jones 5-2.
In Hurley, Nate Trochessett and Carson Ryder each punched out a game-high three hits to pace the winning ECHS attack. Ryder was also one of a quartet of Hornets that drove in a pair of runs apiece along with T.J. Dunsford, Andrew Marble and Eli Smith. Dunsford had two hits including a triple, while Trochessett, Smith and Brayson Owenby each added a double for ECHS.
The Southern Miss signee and versatile sport standout Dunsford picked up the shutout win on the mound, going all five frames in the “Mercy Rule” affair striking out nine and scattering three hits while holding the Eagles scoreless.
Game two in the best-of-three-second-round series is set for Friday night in Florence.
Meanwhile, in Ellisville, Vancleave went on the road to open the second round of the playoffs and scored single runs in the third, fifth and sixth innings before adding two more insurance runs in the top of the seventh to seal the 5-2 win over South Jones.
Bulldog junior ace pitcher Hunter Parker was consistently solid on the mound all night, hurling a complete game seven-hitter and striking out seven in the process. Parker made sure the Braves had reservations about scoring with six straight shutout innings to begin the game, and by the time SJHS got on the board with a pair of runs in the bottom of the seventh the Bulldogs were in complete command.
Martin Shaw tallied two hits including a run-scoring double for the Bulldogs, while Tyler West also had two hits. Hunter Harper also added an RBI-double in the win for VHS.
Vancleave now has the home-field advantage in the series and can wrap up a trip to the Class 5A South State semifinal round with a win at home Thursday night at “The Landing”.
In Region 7-5A play Tuesday night, league champ Picayune held off visiting Wayne County 4-1 and second seed Pearl River Central fell to home-standing West Jones 6-2.
The Maroon Tide got a complete game two-hit dominant performance from Tanner Busby on the mound against the War Eagles, as he struck out 12 and walked just two in picking up the win. Justin Stockstill drove in a game-high two runs for Picayune.
And in Soso, the Mustangs never trailed after scoring three runs in the bottom of the third inning and led by as much as 4-0 after four frames.
The Blue Devils managed just two hits in the loss and Kyan Schlottman drove in a run for PRC.
Game two in both series is set for Friday night.