GULFPORT — For the first time in five years, Gulfport is headed to the Class 6A South State semifinals on the baseball diamond.
The Admirals slipped past visiting Warren Central 10-9 in a wild and wooly affair Monday night at Herbert Wilson Field to clinch a two-game sweep in the second-round series and move on. Gulfport won the first game on the road 3-1 last week.
Gulfport used a nine-run outburst in the second stanza to erase an early 3-0 deficit and take a lead it would never relinqusih, even though the Vikings tallied six runs in the top of the fifth to close out a heart-stopping rally that just came up short.
Jacob Palazzo, the starting quarterback for GHS as well, had the big blow in the big inning as he cracked a bases-loaded double that plated all three runs. Braxton Williams added a key two-run double in the frame also, as the Admirals sent what turned out to a lucky number of 13 batters to the plate during the eruption. Dawson Hall, Joel Smith and Nathan Edwards all tallied RBIs in that inning, as did Ethan Garner. The Tulane signee Garner added his second run-scoring single in as many innings in the third frame, to up the Admiral lead to seven at 10-3.
That last RBI hit by Garner seemed to be insignificant for a bit until the Vikings came to bat in the fifth and cut the deficit to one. Gulfport’s Ethan Suroweic came on to pitch and ended the Warren Central rally to close out the fifth. The Ole Miss signee then shut the door on the Vikings with a pair of shutout frames to wrap up the win.
Nicholas Williams collected a pair of doubles for GHS, while Suroweic added one as well. Nicholas Williams was also the winning pitcher, starting and throwing into the fifth frame.
The Admirals now stand 21-11 on the season, and there is no rest for Gulfport as it heads to Brandon to open the Class 6A South State semifinals Tuesday night.
Gulfport has won its first four postseason games for the first time since that aforementioned 2018 season five years ago when the Admirals swept perennial state powers Pascagoula and Oak Grove. This season, GHS has so far defeated St. Martin and the Vikings.
Brandon is coming off a two-game sweep of Ocean Springs after getting a first-round bye.
The other side of the bracket is the Class 6A South State semifinals sees Petal facing defending state champion Northwest Rankin. That series also starts Tuesday night in Brandon.
The winner of those two match-ups will meet next week in the Class 6A South State championship tilt with a trip to the state championship series on the line.