By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Picayune Item
A pair of local players have earned first team all-state honors for their performances on the diamond this past season.
Picayune’s Jacob Taylor and Poplarville’s Rachel Hickman each were named to the prestigious teams over the weekend. Taylor was a first team Class 5A baseball selection as a pitcher and Hickman was a first team Class 4A Fast-pitch selection as a pitcher as well.
Both standouts led their respective teams to the South State finals this past season.
Taylor was unbeaten in the playoffs, going 4-0, in pacing Picayune to the South State finals where the Maroon Tide fell to defending state champion Pascagoula in a third and deciding game. Pascagoula went on to fall in three games to New Hope in the state finals.
Pearl River Central infielder Lane Fazende and Picayune utility player Peyton Lee made the second team.
Hickman finished the season 27-4 on the mound, with a 0.58 earned run average. She struck out 325 batters in just 194 innings of work. She also hit over .400 at the plate, with 12 doubles and 32 runs batted in.
Hickman was also named to theoverall state first team as selected by The Jackson Clarion-Ledger.
The All-State teams were announced in conjuction with the annual D.M. Howie/Crossroads Diamond Club All-Star baseball games, which took place Saturday here at Smith-Wills Stadium.
Tupelo outfielder J.G. Miley was a big key for the North team as they beat the South 9-4 in the large schools game, which consists of 6A/5A/4A teams.
Miley was named Most Valuable Player for the North and also won the Mark Vinson Award, presented for sportsmanship.
Miley scored the game’s first run in the first, then followed up two innings later by stealing home to give the North a 3-0 lead. Northwest Rankin’s Reid Humphreys, a Mississippi State signee, was 3-for-5 with two RBIs for the North. Humphreys was named the game’s Most Valuable Offensive Player. Richie Clark of Long Beach was named MVP for the South, which leads the series 18-11. Clark doubled and singled and had one RBI. His RBI single in the fifth trimmed the South’s deficit to 5-3. But the North extended the lead back to 7-3 in the seventh, highlighted by Humphreys’ RBI single.
Sumrall’s Will Simon led the South past the North 4-1 in 10 innings of the Class 3A/2A/1A game.
Simon, a Jones County Junior College signee, was named the South MVP after going 2-for-5 with two doubles and two RBIs. He was also the winning pitcher.