Poplarville baseball secures win over Greene County

Published 3:48 pm Monday, April 12, 2021

The Poplarville Hornets put in another solid defensive performance and plated enough runners to defeat Greene County 3-1 Friday evening.

Getting the district win over the Wildcats was integral in keeping the Hornets squarely in the race for a playoff spot.

A loss last week would’ve been a huge hit to those hopes, but Poplarville pulled through thanks in part to the team’s experience in important matchups.

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“I think they handled the pressure well. I don’t think noise, pressure or any of that gets to them. These kids have played in some big games. I don’t think that’s an issue,” Head Coach Slade Jones said.

Mason Anderson came up big at the plate going 1-3 with three RBIs.

The senior went deep in the first inning and that ended up being the difference in the game.

“Last year with the COVID-19 (forced cancellation of the season) he would’ve been an every day starter. He’s just now getting the amount of experience to be in there every day, but nobody is shocked by it. He’s a great athlete. We expected it out of him and now we’re getting it,” Jones said.

Defensively the Hornets cut down on mistakes and relied on the arms of Riley Passman and Joseph Blakeney to keep Greene County at bay.

Passman went four innings with one earned run and eight strikeouts while Blakeney went three innings and struck out another four.

The pair has built up some steam as of late and Jones said the duo’s performances usually mimic each other.

“On the mound they compliment each other and they’re both left handed pitchers. If one of them is having success then it’s likely the other is going to have success. They’re kind of alike and can do a lot of the same things. They’ve been keeping us in it on the mound and the good news is they’ll be back next year,” Jones said.

Even though the Hornets have had a busy season full of games, the effects of last year’s cancelled season and lack of playing time are still being felt.

Some players who would’ve gotten significant innings last year have had to learn on the fly this season.

“It’s been fast for a lot of the ones who haven’t had a lot of experience like Mason (Anderson) and a couple other guys in there. Their (development) has been fast by necessity and the other ones who were in there two years ago for us every day, they’re just what we expected. They’re growing as players,” Jones said.

This week will make or break the season with Poplarville having two district games against Purvis on April 13 and April 16.

There will be a lot on the line when the Tornados and Hornets clash, but even so the mindset for Poplarville will be the same.

“My expectations are that we go in there and take care of business, and do what we need to do to get a spot in the playoffs. Expectations are always going to be high no matter how it’s been or who’s in there,” Jones said.