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Poplarville baseball drops final regular season game

The Poplarville Hornets lost to the Sumrall Bobcats 13-5 last Friday in a game that would determine the Hornets’ playoff position.

A win would’ve put Poplarville at the number two seed, but with the loss the Hornets now have the number three spot and will face either McComb or Lawrence County in the playoffs.

Several rain delays forced Poplarville to use multiple pitchers with Riley Passman getting the majority of the work, pitching three innings with only one earned run and three strikeouts.

Passman was also clinical at the plate and had three hits against Sumrall.

The junior’s contributions on the mound and at the plate secured him a starting role this season that will see him get plenty of action during the upcoming playoff series.

“He definitely figures into a starting role and relief role on the mound. He’s done that through district play and will do that through the playoffs. He has really long at-bats, really mature at-bats and he’s hard to get out. The better the pitching the better he hits,” Head Coach Slade Jones said.

Although Sumrall did plate 13 runs, Jones was happy with his team’s defensive showing.

Tightening things up before the start of the postseason was a priority for the Hornets knowing the talented batters they’d have to face.

“Behind the plate we’ve gotten better and (catcher) Malley Bilbo has done a good job for us of blocking baseballs. We played with a lot of intensity and made a lot of good plays on defense…there were a lot of positives,” Jones said.

No matter who the Hornets face in the playoffs, the opponent won’t bring anything to the table Poplarville hasn’t already seen this season.

Jones purposefully created a tough 2021 schedule that included several teams with top tier pitching.

That experience could end up being a difference maker when Poplarville is put in a win or go home situation.

“We’ve seen everyone’s best guy. We aren’t going to be star struck by any pitching. It’s in 4A and we’re going to see it. We’re not even trying to hide from it,” Jones said.

This week’s practices will take on a slightly more intense feel as the Hornets prepare for the playoffs.

The team has plenty of experience from this season to draw upon, so now it’s just about nailing down the minute details that could be the difference in a one run game.

“The things we were able to implement against Sumrall the other night we’ll focus a lot on because that’s what we’ll need to do no matter who we’re facing now. That’s one of the great things about playing teams like Stone (County) in that bracket is that we got a pretty good look at them. Just because the first time didn’t go our way (doesn’t mean much) because we can see what we need to do,” Jones said.