By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
Pascagoula’s Andrew Crane continued his dominance of Picayune Thursday night.
The lanky Panther pitcher produced his second shutout of the season against the Maroon Tide, hurling a two-hit complete game as homestanding Pascagoula beat Picayune 1-0 in game one of the Class 5A South State finals before a standing room only capacity crowd at Ingalls Field.
Crane, a 6-foot-4, 190-pound junior, also tossed a three hit shutout against the Maroon Tide two months ago in a 3-0 Panther win.
The series resumes tonight in Picayune at 7 p.m. A win by Pascagoula would clinch a return trip to the state finals for the defending state champions, while a Maroon Tide win would force a third and deciding game back here in Jackson County at 2 p.m., on Saturday.
“It was an awesome atmosphere, with two great teams going at it,” Picayune head coach Cayne Stockstill said. “We weren’t our normal aggressive self at the plate tonight. That’s something, though, we can change in game two.”
The game was a pitchers’ duel between Crane and Picayune’s Peyton Lee. Lee was the tough luck loser, allowing just five hits and striking out six in a complete game performance.
But three of those hits that Lee gave up came in the second inning, and resulted in the only run of the game.
Crane, meanwhile, responded each time the Maroon Tide threatened. Picayune left two runners on base in each of the second and third innings, and left a runner at second base in the fourth as well.
The Panther ace allowed just a pair of infield singles, to Nick Marble and Jacob Taylor.
The teams split a pair of games in the regular season. It was Picayune’s first loss in several weeks, as the Maroon Tide had won six straight playoff games.
“We need a big crowd at home Friday night,” Stockstill added. “These kids will bounce back.”
The winner of this series advances to the state finals at Trustmark Stadium in Pearl next week, and will face the winner of the North State Finals between Hernando and New Hope.