By Creg Stephenson Item Sports Correspondent
The Picayune Item
MOSS POINT —
Moss Point kept giving Picayune extra outs on Friday night, and the Maroon Tide gladly accepted them.
The homestanding Tigers committed six errors leading to four unearned runs as Picayune claimed an 8-4 victory in the opener of a 5A first-round baseball playoff series at Lasseter Field. The Maroon Tide goes for the series victory at home Saturday, with Game 2 set for 11 a.m.
“We just put the bat on the ball, put the ball in play and tried to take advantage of the opportunities we had,” Picayune coach Cayne Stockstill said. “We did not do a good job of that tonight, especially with runners in scoring position. That’s one way we’ve got to get better.
“Our pitching was solid, our defense was questionable at times. But we managed to only give up four runs, and I think we can win some ball games if we do that.”
Picayune (10-16) broke the game open with a three-run fourth inning, using just one hit but Moss Point errors to take a 5-2 lead. After the Tigers’ Bennie Curry slammed a two-run homer in the bottom of the fifth to pull his team within a run, the Maroon Tide scored twice more in the sixth and once more in the seventh largely on miscues by Moss Point (7-17).
Peyton Lee picked up the win for Picayune, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits in six innings. Mark Wood worked a scoreless seventh to close out the Maroon Tide’s victory.
“It’s hard to have all those mistakes,” Moss Point coach Marc Turner said. “Lige threw well, but the errors really cost us. We’ll have to go play tomorrow, and hopefully force game three and we’ll see what happens. We hit the ball tonight, and we’ve got to hit tomorrow.”
Picayune scored twice in the top of the first, after Wood reached on an infield single and Jacob Taylor doubled to left. Kyle Dillard followed with a sacrifice fly, then Lee reached on another infield single to make it 2-0.
Moss Point got a run back in the bottom of the first on a long home run to left by Lige Mims, the Tigers’ senior pitcher. A single and two Picayune errors scored Curry with Moss Point’s second run in the third to tie the game before the Tigers fell apart in the top of the fourth.
Nick Marble’s infield single was the Maroon Tide’s only hit of the inning, but Hayden Falls, Devin Hedgepeth, Dillard and Lee all reached on errors as Picayune took the lead for good. The Tigers made mistakes of all varieties — overthrows, underthrows, mishandled grounders and even a catcher’s interference.
After Curry’s home run made it a one-run game, Picayune scored twice in the sixth on an infield single, an error and three Moss Point wild pitches. The Maroon Tide’s final run came on a walk, an infield single, a hit batter and a wild pitch by Tigers reliever Kaylin Rembert.
Wood and Taylor each had two of Picayune’s seven hits, while Marble and Taylor each scored twice. Mims had two of Moss Point’s five hits, while Curry scored twice.
A decisive third game, if necessary, would immediately follow Saturday’s early game.