Hornets face West Jones

Published 4:56 pm Thursday, April 24, 2008

Poplarville first year head coach Jimmie Agent came to the Hornets after several seasons as an assistant at Oak Grove.

Perhaps the Poplarville players and fans wouldn’t mind if Agent wore one of his old Warrior t-shirts under his uniform over the next couple of days.

That’s because the Hornets take on West Jones in the Class 4A South State quarterfinals beginning tonight in Soso. Game one is set for 6 p.m., in the best of three series.

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The Mustangs are 23-2 on the season and ranked seventh in the state and are the Region 5-4A champs. West Jones trampled Forrest Hill in the opening round, winning a pair of one-sided games 14-4 and 13-4.

The only team to beat West Jones this season…is, you guessed it, Oak Grove which handed the Mustangs both of their losses.

“I figured they were going to have a pretty easy time of it in the first round,” Agent said. “They are a very good, solid ball club. They are 23-2 for a reason, they don’t have many weaknesses.”

Poplarville stands 19-9 on the year, and fell to Stone in game one of the opening round series before coming back to win a pair of exciting games in a doubleheader sweep on Monday to advance.

“Our guys are excited to still be playing,” Agent added. “I think it’s the first time in quite a while that Poplarville has made it past the opening round. We hope to keep going.”

In fact, it’s the first time in eight years, since the 200 season, that the Hornets have made it this far into the postseason. That year head coach Jonathan Ray’s crew played for the South State championship.

West Jones is led by lefthanded pitcher Garrett Moore, who is unbeaten at 8-0 on the season. He is expected to take the mound tonight in game one against Poplarville ace pitcher Ashley Graeter.

“I think Ashley could match-up pretty well against them,” Agent said. “We need a good performance, because game one in this type of series is usually pretty crucial. We would rather not fall behind in another series.”

Leading West Jones at the plate is Brandon Holley, Chase Headrick and Brian Wells as well as Moore.The Mustangs hit four home runs and banged out 26 hits in the opening round sweep of the Rebels. Holley had a pair of homers and has hit six on the year.

“They’ve got three or four guys in the middle of their order that can swing the bat pretty well,” Agent concluded. “We have to hit the ball to win.”

The teams meet in Poplarville Friday night for game two.