Maroon Tide facing Vancleave

Published 9:54 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Picayune found out whom it would open the playoffs against here Saturday night.

Jared Jackson’s two-out, two-run single in the top of the seventh inning keyed Vancleave’s 15-13, come-from-behind victory and a sweep of its Class 5A South State opening round playoff series against Brookhaven.

The Maroon Tide and Bulldogs will now face off in a best of three quarterfinal series beginning Friday night at 6 in Picayune.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Vancleave, the third seed from Region 7-5A, is 13-11 on the season while Picayune, the Region 6-5A champion stands 16-7 and got an opening round bye due to its league title.

The Bulldogs trailed 11-10 entering the seventh in game two Saturday night, but scored four  times, taking the lead for good on Jackson’s base hit.

“It was a slugfest on both sides,” Vancleave coach Michael Henry said. “We had lost a lot of close games this year, but we were hoping we would start playing well when it counted. We’ve got some confidence now and we hope we can carry that forward.”

The Bulldogs, who won the series-opener 7-3 at home Friday, pounded 16 hits, including a solo homer by Colin Bray and a three-run shot by Zac Haarala.

Bray allowed two runs in the bottom of the seventh, but closed the game to pick up the win in relief. He was also the starting quarterback for the VHS football team, and led the Bulldogs to an opening round playoff win over Picayune on the gridiron.

On Friday night, Vancleave broke the game open with a four-run sixth inning and beat Brookhaven 7-3 in the series opener.

The Bulldogs broke a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the sixth on Jackson’s two-run single and Bray’s RBI single.

Stuart Holmes,  the son of former Picayune head football coach Hal Holmes, got the win striking out eight.

While Vancleave’s overall record might not be that impressive, Henry pointed out that his team had eight one-run losses.

“If you win those eight one-run games, you’re sitting at almost 20 wins,” Henry said. “I feel like we’ve played well, but record-wise we’ve probably underachieved. We’re excited about going into the playoffs and trying to make a statement.”

Holmes, a Southeastern Louisiana University signee, is 5-2 on the year with an earned run average of right at 1.00. Bray is a University of South Alabama signee.

Game two will take place in Vancleave Saturday with a third game, if necessary, back in Picayune on Monday.

The Maroon Tide will have enjoyed a 10 day rest by the time the series starts. Picayune’s doubleheader against Gulfport that was scheduled for this past Friday was cancelled.