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Tide in South State finals

By CURTIS ROCKWELL

Item Sports Editor

Picayune’s pitching had been the talk of the playoffs through the first two rounds.

The Maroon Tide’s hitters, however, took command in round three.

Picayune scored 29 runs and 27 hits in less than 24 hours, and rolled to a two game sweep of Lawrence County in the Class 4A South State semifinals.

The Maroon Tide rolls into the South State finals for the first time in six seasons this week, facing defending state champion East Central for the right to play for the state championship.

Playing at home on Friday night, Picayune rolled to an easy 16-1 win before hitting the road Saturday afternoon and taking a 13-3 win to end sweep the series.

Picayune, ranked 10th in the state, is now 22-3 overall and has won eight games and swept three straight best of three playoff series.

East Central, meanwhile, swept West Jones as well winning 14-4 and 3-2.

“It’s very exciting for us,” Picayune head coach Cayne Stockstill said. “I’m proud of the kids and what they have accomplished, but we know there is still a lot of work to do. We are going back to work Monday to get ready for East Central.”

In game one on Friday, Picayune scored 13 runs in the second inning and almost batted around twice in that frame in doing so.

Evan Nicholson hit a two-run homer, a double and single to pace Picayune while Jay Dedeaux had three hits, including a double, and three RBIs. Jared Bales hit a three-run double. Hunter Gill had a double and three RBIs and Jacob Riser had two singles.

Bales picked up the win on the mound, moving to 3-1.

On Saturday, Dedeaux had four hits and drove in four runs, while Garrett Williams hit a pair of home runs smacking a two run job and a solo shot. Bales also smashed his seventh homer of the year, and Riser added three hits as did Bryce Ladner.

Ladner was the winning pitcher, staying perfect on the year at 9-0.

“Our hitters really came up big,” Stockstill added. “We really worked hard on that last week and it paid off.”

The South State finals will begin Thursday, with a coin toss on Monday to decide who will have homefield advantage.