Gulfport remained unbeaten in the Class 6A state playoffs Tuesday night. And in doing so, the Admirals moved within a step of playing for the Class 6A South State championship.
Under the direction of veteran head coach Jamie McMahon, Gulfport won its fifth straight postseason game and second against two different opponents in as many days as the Admirals went on the road and knocked off Brandon 5-2 Tuesday night to open the Class 6A South state semifinals.
Gulfport ace pitcher Josh Lee, a Southeastern Louisiana signee, registered his third playoff win in the past two weeks as he hurled a complete game three-hitter and struck out six in helping put the Admirals up 1-0 in the best of three series. Gulfport’s other hero was Ole Miss signee Ethan Suroweic, who belted a three-run home run in a five-run sixth stanza that turned the game around and in favor of the Admirals.
The home-standing Bulldogs, who were coming off a two-game sweep of Ocean Springs last week, kept that momentum going early in the game scoring a run off of Lee in the first frame and adding another solo run in the fourth to take a 2-0 lead heading into the fifth inning.
But the best was yet to come for Gulfport, as the Admirals finally got to Brandon starter Walker Hooks in the sixth.
Hooks had hurled five shutout stanzas up until that point, but Braxton Wiliams led off the frame reaching on an error and Nathan Edwards executed a bunt single to put two runners on with no outs.
Suroweic then stepped up to the plate and launched his three-run blow into the Rankin County night to give Gulfport not only its first lead of the game but one the Admirals would never relinquish.
Just for good measure, and to provide Lee with a bit of a cushion, Nicholas Williams and Dawson Hall each added RBI singles before the big inning concluded resulting in the final score.
Jacob Palazzo had a game-high two hits for Gulfport. Hooks was saddled with the loss for Brandon.
Game two is set for Friday night in Gulfport. The Admirals can secure a trip to the Class 6A South State finals with a win. Defending state champion Northwest Rankin leads the other side of the bracket 1-0 after a 4-2 win over visiting Petal Tuesday night.
In Class 4A playoff action Tuesday night, perennial state power Purvis took game one from home-standing Stone in that South State semifinal series 9-6. Game two is set for Friday night in Purvis. The Tornadoes are now 27-5 on the season.
Daylon Collins and Owen Spooner drove in a pair of runs apiece for Stone, while S.T. Maust led the Tomcays with two hits including a double. Conner Tice and Collins also each had a double.
Tice took the loss for Stone.