The State Softball Playoffs are set to begin April 21, and while only one division title has been clinched three teams in the “Southern Six” can clinch top seeds this week.
In Class 6A, D’Iberville has clinched the Division 7-6A title and will draw the first-round bye. Ocean Springs has been playing its best softball of the season and will go in as the 2 seed. St. Martin will be the 3 seed as these 3 teams split their division matchups and the race was determined based on run differential.
In Division 8-6A, Harrison Central travels to Gulfport to take on the Lady Admirals. A win by the Red Rebels will give Coach Jimmie Parker’s team the division title. A win by Gulfport means that Hancock will take the division title. The Red Rebels and Lady Hawks split their two meetings with Harrison Central owning the run differential. Gulfport heads into the playoffs as one of the strongest third seeds in 6A.
In Division 7-5A things are much less settled. Pearl River Central remains the lone unbeaten but must win two out of its last three games to take home the title. The Lady Blue Devils face Picayune twice and end the year with West Harrison. The outcome of these three games will determine seeding heading into the play-in dates.
In Division 8-5A, East Central defeated George County 4-3 in eight innings on Friday to tie the Lady Rebels atop the division with identical 4-1 records. The Lady Rebels still own the tie-breaker based on their 10-2 win over the Lady Hornets in Lucedale on March 14.
Friday’s game was eerily like game 1 of the South State Finals last year as the Lady Hornets rallied to tie the game with a run in the bottom of the seventh. Bre Tanner’s suicide squeeze scored Jolie Wallace with the winning run.
Tanner was the winning pitcher going the distance allowing three runs on nine hits while striking out four.
The Lady Rebels struck first as Irina Sanford led off the game with a triple and scored on a throwing error. Sanford had four hits in the game to lead the Lady Rebels.
East Central wasted no time in tying things up as Baleigh Tullos hit the first pitch of the game from Peyton Collins over the left centerfield wall to tie the game at 1-1. Collins went the distance for George County allowing four runs on six hits while striking out eight.
The Lady Rebels retook the lead in the top of the third on an RBI groundout by Ashton Fairley and an RBI double by Sidnee Beech. Maddie Eubanks led off the bottom of the third with a solo home run and the game remained 3-2 until the bottom of the 7th.
Lilian Evans’ one out single began the rally and Taylor Long’s RBI triple tied the game at 3. Collins got a strikeout and pop out to send the game to the extra frame and when the Rebels failed to score the scene was set for Tanner’s walk-off squeeze.
Both teams close out region play with Gautier. The Lady Rebels travel to Gautier on Wednesday while East Central hosts the Lady Gators on April 17. Vancleave joins East Central in George County in the playoffs taking home the 3rd seed in Division 8-5A.
In Division 8-4A, Greene County remains the only unbeaten team in the division and looks to wrap up a title with a win at Stone. Bay High has moved into the two seed while Pass Christian has pushed into the playoff picture as the three seed just ahead of Stone.
In Division 7-4A, Poplarville, Lawrence County and Purvis are all battling for the two remaining playoff spots behind the undefeated division champion Sumrall.
In Division 8-3A, St. Patrick heads to Bassfield April 17 needing a win over Jefferson Davis County to wrap up the division title.