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Picayune baseball getting back on track

Picayune Maroon Tide’s baseball team defeated the Hancock Hawks 11-1 on March 7.

Senior Trey Wells was the starting pitcher for the Maroon Tide and got the win as Picayune moved to 6-3 on the season.

Picayune lost two games in a row heading into the matchup with the Hawks, so Head Coach Evan Nichelson was looking for his players to right the ship against Hancock.

“We came out and had the best offensive game as a whole we’ve had all year. I was pleased with that and we played good defense behind Trey,” Nichelson said.

Picayune has an experienced team with 10 seniors on the squad.

There wasn’t any panic in the clubhouse heading into the Hancock matchup, even though the team was on a two game losing streak, and the players knew what needed to be fixed.

“The kids have responded well and shown up every day with great energy and enthusiasm. I was pretty pleased with the way we’ve responded to back to back losses,” Nichelson said.

Picayune had zero errors against Hancock and was able to make the necessary plays to minimize Hancock’s scoring potential.

Good defense has been the Maroon Tide’s calling card this season and Nichelson said the players’ experience helps when needing an out in high pressure situations.

“We try to eliminate big innings and make the routine plays. We have a mature team that have been in it, so they’re good at minimizing mental mistakes,” Nichelson said.

The 11 runs Picayune scored was the most this season since the first game of the year where Picayune put up 13 against Pass Christian.

The offensive explosion included a home run from Kade Turnage, along with doubles from Chad Dudenhefer, Luke Smith, Chad Stockstill and Turnage.

Picayune was able to execute at the plate against Hancock. Nichelson said a big part of the team’s offensive success was the comfort level players had in the batter’s box.

“I think some guys are starting to see the ball a little better. The guys are settling in, relaxing a little bit and going to play,” Nichelson said.

The Maroon Tide was originally scheduled to play Stone County on March 10, but the game was rained out. Instead the squads will face off twice in two days.

The Maroon Tide and the Tomcats will play March 12 at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College, with the game set to start at 6:30 p.m.

Friday night Stone County will face Picayune on the Maroon Tide’s home turf. That game will start at 7 p.m.

Nichelson said the team as a whole made progress with the win over Hancock, but now the players have to build on that success.

“I want to see our guys continue working on what we’ve been building on as far as playing hard every pitch and not giving away at bats,” Nichelson said.