• 73°

Picayune baseball drops final game to Long Beach

Picayune’s season ended Monday evening with a 6-1 loss to Long Beach as the Maroon Tide’s seniors put on the uniform one last time.

Sam Landrum led Picayune at the plate going 2-3 with an RBI while Dawson Underwood got the majority of action on the mound going three innings with two strikeouts and one hit.

The Maroon Tide hoped to end the season on a high note, especially for the team’s seniors.

“There were just the four of them, but they did a great job of showing these guys what’s expected each day and had a business like attitude every day. I was proud of the way they handled themselves with class even though things didn’t go how we planned,” Head Coach Evan Nichelson said.

Picayune’s youth throughout the lineup and pitching staff meant there were some growing pains this year.

However, the young athletes now have a full season of varsity experience to draw on, and getting so many opportunities at such a young age means the Maroon Tide could be dangerous next year.

“There’s nothing better than getting that experience at a young age. We’re returning a lot of innings on the mound from kids who are really young and I think that’s going to benefit us along the way. I think we have five freshmen with over 30 at-bats. That experience of being in those games and coming back will benefit us as well,” Nichelson said.

The season revolved around the growth of Nichelson’s inexperienced players and helping them become more comfortable at the varsity level.

The final results may not have shown it, but the progress from the beginning of the season up to Monday evening showed just how valuable getting a full season of experience can be.

“There were a lot of positives to take away from this season. We just have to take them, move forward and get better,” Nichelson said.

Now the Maroon Tide will move into the offseason, which is a luxury the team didn’t have in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The team plans on taking full advantage of the summer months to not only practice, but compete as well.

Several of the players will be on travel ball teams while Nichelson has also scheduled Picayune to take part in some summer games.

The mad rush of a season inhibits the team’s ability to work on some of the finer details of baseball, so that will be a focus now that the athletes won’t be competing every other day.

“We’re going to simplify some things and break some things down. We’ll start back over at square one and build back up. There were a lot of good things when these kids were thrown into the fire and now is the time we can fine tune some things we saw that need to be worked on,” Nichelson said.