Baseball playoffs resume

Published 7:00 am Thursday, May 1, 2014

The state baseball playoffs resume tonight, and all three Pearl River County teams return to the diamond.

In Class 5A, Picayune and Pearl River Central will both be at home, as the Maroon Tide hosts East Central at 6 p.m, and the Blue Devils host Wayne County at 7 p.m.

It will be the first postseason action of the year for both Picayune and PRC, as both earned an opening round bye after winning their respective region crowns.

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In Class 4A action, Poplarville travels to Columbia to open the second round of the South State playoffs at 6 p.m. The Hornets are coming off of a two game of Magee in the opening round.

Picayune is hoping to make a return trip to the Class 5A South State finals this season. The Maroon Tide fell in three games to two-time defending Class 5A South State champion Pascagoula last season, ending an unlikely run that saw the Maroon Tide enter the playoffs with a losing record.

“We just have to be ready to go,” veteran Picayune head coach Cayne Stockstill said. “Once the playoffs begin, anything can happen if a team gets hot. We proved that last year.”

The path to the promised land may be a little more difficult for Picayune this season, beginning with East Central. The Hornets finished second to powerful George County in Region 8-5A, and swept Natchez in the opening round of the playoffs to set up the series with Picayune.

East Central scored seven runs in the top of the first inning on the way to a 15-2 victory in five innings at Natchez on Friday night to sweep a 5A baseball first-round series.

Collin Jordan had two hits and drove in four runs for East Central, which is now 17-6 this season. Konnor Pilkington added three RBIs for East Central. Jordan, Cody Briones and Justin Plummer had two hits each.

Eric Saksa picked up the win for East Central, striking out seven in three innings. Brandon Conerly added four strikeouts in relief.

The Maroon Tide is expected to face Pilkington tonight, who is considered the ace of the Hornets staff. He pitched four perfect innings to lead the Hornets to a 12-1 victory over visiting Natchez in Game 1 of a 5A first-round playoff series. The junior left-hander struck out nine, including the last seven he faced before giving way to senior right-hander Landon Laughlin for the final inning.

Meanwhile, Pearl River Central hosts a Wayne County team that played a very close series with Stone, winning both games at home.

And Poplarville faces a Columbia team that stands 22-4 overall and is 12-1 at home this seaso