Back in action

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 13, 2014

WIGGINS — Poplarville’s baseball team was hoping to return to the baseball diamond on Tuesday night, but Mother Nature had other ideas.

After a rainy day that caused a game against Stone County to be cancelled, the Hornets will be back in action at home on Friday in search of their second win of the season.

Poplarville stands 1-4 so far on the young campaign, but included in that ledger is a trio of one-run losses.

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“Our pitchers are throwing well and our defense has been solid,” interim Hornet head coach Lance Hendrix said. Our hitting started off a little slow, but we’ve been getting better at the plate every game.”

The Hornets began the season by dropping a pair of one run games to both Picayune and Pearl River Central in the county tournament.

Poplarville then waited almost a week to get back into action because of inclement weather, and dropped a 3-1 decision to perennial state power Sumrall in the Pearl River Community College Classic on Friday.

Blake Ladner took the loss against the Bobcats. Jake Smith had a double and a single at the plate to pace Poplarville, while Chandler Ray collected a double as well. Ray drove in Poplarville’s only run.

Ladner, Ray and Justin Oliver are all seniors and three of Poplarville’s four returning starters from last season. Junior catcher Luke Godwin, also a returning starter, was suspended for the first five games and is expected to return to the Hornets’ line-up against Lumberton on Friday.

Poplarville earned Hendrix his first win at the helm on Saturday afternoon, beating visiting Forrest County AHS 4-0.

Hayden Freeman posted the shutout win on the mound, and he also had a double and a single at the plate and drove in a pair of runs as well.

Ladner added a double and a single to the winning effort, and he also drove in a run. Jake Smith had a pair of singles, while Austin Darden cracked a double as well. Tyler Welch drove in a run with a sacrifice fly.

The Hornets then traveled back to Wildcat Stadium on the PRCC campus to wrap up that event Saturday night, and fell 2-1 to East Central.

Eric Saksa pitched a complete-game four-hitter and also drove in a run as the Hornets improved to 5-0 this season.

Saksa (2-0) did not allow an earned run and struck out eight with three walks. Saksa also had a double and an RBI and Hunter Barfield drove in the go-ahead run in the sixth inning.

For Poplarville, Welch had a pair of singles and drove in the only run for the Hornets with a sacrifice fly. Oliver had a pair of singles as well. Ray took loss.

After facing the visiting Panthers on Friday, the Hornets will host Stone County in a varsity doubleheader on Saturday beginning at Noon. Those three games will be the final tune-up before Region 8-4A play begins next week, as Poplarville hosts Moss Point Tuesday night in district action and then travels to Jackson County for a rematch with the Tigers one week from Friday.