Tide takes title

Published 7:00 am Saturday, April 19, 2014

By Rashell Reese 

Item Sports Correspondent

WIGGINS — It was Senior Night for Stone County Thursday night, but visiting Picayune did all the celebrating.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Maroon Tide rallied twice in the late innings, pulling out an exciting 9-4 win to clinch the Region 7-5A championship.

Picayune moves to 12-5 overall and ends up 6-3 in league play. The Maroon Tide and Long Beach actually finished in a tie in the league standings, but head coach Cayne Stockstill’s team earned the top seed due to winning two of three games over the Bearcats.

“What a game,” Stockstill said. “It feels great to win. This is a really tough district with lots of great teams, so to win this district is really an accomplishment.”

The Tomcats took a 1-0 lead in the fourth scoring on a unearned run off a pair of Picayune throwing errors. Stone pitcher Tyler Spring, who shut Picayune out 3-0 earlier this season, kept the Maroon Tide scoreless again through five innings.

But Picayune rallied in the top of the sixth to take a 4-1 lead, as Gary Van Buren’s sacrifice fly to right plated Kyle Dillard to tie the game at 1-1. Brady Warren then gave the Tide the lead with an RBI-single. Morgan Dragon and Hayden Falls then each delievered RBI-singles to make it 4-1 Picayune.

But Stone, which came into the game with a chance to win the district title as well, came right back with three runs off Tide starter Dillard and reliever Mark Wood to tie the game at 4-4 and send it into extra innings.

It would take four more frames before anyone would score again, but Picayune again rallied in a big way to win the game.

The Maroon Tide scored five runs in the top of the 10th, with the big hit a three run triple by Wood. Dragon and Dillard also had RBI-singles in the inning.

“That hit by Wood was huge,” Stockstill added.

Dillard was effective battling his way in and out of several jams in the early innings. Wood picked up the win with a solid four innings of relief work.

The Tide was without pitching ace Peyton Lee, who is suffering from a back injury.

“I thought Kyle Dillard pitched one of the best games I’ve ever seen him pitch,” Stockstill said. “Wood came in behind him and kept it going. That’s what teammates are for.”

Dillard also had three hits to pace Picayune at the plate. Devin Hedepeth, Morgan Dragon, and Hayden Falls each had two hits apiece.

The Maroon Tide gets a first round bye in the playoffs.