Picayune prevails in first district bout against Stone, 7-2

Published 7:00 am Thursday, March 16, 2017

At the top of the 4th inning, Picayune’s pitcher Tyler Fletcher took control of Tuesday’s game, as his seven strikeouts and zero runs against led the Maroon Tide to a 7-2 victory against district foe Stone County.

Picayune came out with a go get-them attitude that resulted in two double plays in the top of the 1st and 2nd innings, ending any chance Stone had to put any early runs on the board. In the second double play, Trenton Lee heaved a piercing throw to home plate, allowing catcher Jacob Brumley to tag the Stone runner out in the nick of time as he slid into home.

“Those plays were big. Once we started to get momentum, we didn’t let up,” Picayune Baseball Head Coach Cody Stogner said.

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Elisha Hickman played off this early momentum swing, cranking the first hit of the game for the Tide and bringing home the first run of the game. Immediately after his RBI, Garrett Sauls placed a sacrifice bunt down the first base line that brought a runner home while he safely planted his cleats on first base.

Then, after being walked the first time around, Shaun Anderson hit a line drive through the infield, bringing home a third run for the Maroon Tide to push ahead 3-0, putting the Tomcats on their heels as the teams headed into the third inning.

Stone attempted to come back in the 4th inning, taking advantage of an error by Brumley as he was off the mark when trying to beat a runner from stealing second base, conceding the first run of the game, followed by an RBI single by Tomcats’ Mason Hunt to bring Stone closer to the Tide, 3-2.

The game took an emotional turn between the dugouts in the 4th inning when Picayune changed out pitchers, sending the hot-handed Tyler Fletcher to the hill.

The Stone coaching staff became visibly enraged after seeing Fletcher step onto the pitcher’s mound because in the last game, he pitched over five innings, and a new high school baseball rule was put into effect this season. The rule states that no pitcher is allowed to exceed 120 pitches in a single game. If a pitcher throws 25-50 pitches, he must rest for two days before playing again; 50-74 pitches requires three days of rest and 75-100 pitches requires four.

What was aggravating the Tomcats was that Fletcher’s pitch count on March 10 was 65, Stogner said. But according to the new rule, he obeyed the resting clause, waiting three days to captain the mound again.

On Tuesday night, Fletcher was not phased by the feud, striking out three of the first five Tomcats batters to give the Tide exactly what the team needed to strike gold in the team’s first district game of the season.

“We want to win them all, but we are focusing on one game at a time. District is what it’s all about if you want to get to the state tournament,” Stogner said. “Getting that win definitely gives us confidence as we move forward.”

On Friday, Picayune will travel to Stone County in an attempt to take an early lead in district standings. The first pitch will be at 7 p.m. After that, the Tide will host St. Stanislaus at 11 a.m. on Saturday.