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Picayune sweeps Hancock over the weekend

Picayune’s Maroon Tide baseball team went 2-0 over the weekend defeating the Hancock Hawks in a doubleheader 5-2 and 6-4.

The wins were Picayune’s first of the season after starting 0-4.

Dawson Underwood pitched a complete game in the 6-4 victory allowing two earned runs, six hits while striking out six.

Chris Davis led the offense going 3-3 with a double and Mitch Harper went 3-4.

Freshman Kyler King also contributed with a two RBI single.

Freshman Tanner Busby got the start on the mound for the second game and went six innings while allowing five hits and two earned runs with Austin Samples coming in for the save.

There have been some lumps along the way as the Maroon Tide’s younger players adjust to varsity play, but the victories over Hancock could be a turning point for the Picayune.

“We kind of got our teeth knocked out the past couple of games starting 0-4 and with young guys you never know how they’re going to respond to it, but we’ve been staying on them about playing hard, seeing the big picture and getting better every day,” Head Coach Evan Nichelson said.

The first couple of games have seen several different combinations of players take the field as Nichelson searches for his preferred starters.

Early season games not only serve as a way for players to get back in the rhythm of things, especially given the long layoff caused by last year’s COVID-19 shut down, but they also help the coaching staff determine which athletes give the team the best chance to win before district play begins.

“We’re still trying to figure out our best line up. Certain guys have been getting certain spots, but we’re still trying to figure out who our best nine are. The guys are competing and doing a good job of competing, we just have to keep plugging away and sees where it leads,” Nichelson said.

There is some veteran presence on the field for Picayune, such as Samples who has fully embraced that leadership role.

Nichelson said Samples, along with junior Sam Landrum, have stepped up in a big way when it comes to educating the younger players and helping them keep their composure.

“Samples has been great. He’s our leader. He takes these guys under his wing and when guys get down he’s right there building them back up, helping them in different spots and different situations. Landrum didn’t get to play much last year, but as our catcher he’s really taken on a leadership role behind the plate. When young guys get kind of rattled he does a good job of settling them down,” Nichelson said.

Now that Picayune has a few wins, the team will travel to Poplarville March 4 and try to keep the streak alive.

The Hornets are currently undefeated sitting at 4-0 and will host Picayune for Thursday’s game.

The two teams might be county rivals, and while another win could help shore up some of the younger players’ confidence, the main focus for the Maroon Tide will be on overall improvement as the squad inches towards district play.

“You want to win them all and I think the more games we win, the more games we’re in, the more confidence we get. We’re such a young team our guys need that, but our main goal is to get better every time so when we get to district we’re playing our best baseball,” Nichelson said.