• 75°

Poplarville baseball defeats McComb in playoff series

The Poplarville Hornets overcame a game one defeat against McComb last week with back-to-back wins in order to advance to the next round of the playoffs.

After losing the first matchup 6-5, the Hornets dominated once their backs were against the wall with a 16-0 win and a 14-3 victory to move on.

The pressure was on following the game one setback, but Head Coach Slade Jones said the players stayed calm and collected to take the series.

“That’s a really good sign. They bounced back really well after going up there expecting to win and hitting balls at people, and one or two things didn’t go our way. They were clicking on all cylinders and took care of business pretty quickly,” Jones said.

Mason Anderson dominated at the plate for the Hornets throughout the series.

The senior tallied up five hits on nine at-bats and drove in six runs against the Tigers.

Meanwhile on the mound, Jordan Belsome pitched five innings in game one giving up five earned runs while striking out 13 in the only full-length game.

The 16-0 and 14-3 victories ended early due Mississippi’s run rule.

An integral factor in the team’s ability to maintain composure after losing game one was the experience spread throughout the lineup.

The athletes are used to playing in high-pressure situations and executed the team’s game plan to perfection to close out the Tigers.

“These guys have been there before and a few of them have played this late in the year I don’t think (nerves) were a factor. I just think there was a sense of urgency after dropping that first game,” Jones said.

Next up for Poplarville is Stone County, with the series starting May 6 at Stone.

The two teams met earlier in the season with Poplarville falling 7-3.

However, a lot has changed since that March 12 matchup and the Hornets are ready for the challenge.

“We’ll definitely prepare for Stone’s pitchers because we’ve seen a couple of them and we know what they’ll try to do; that combined with what their hitters did against our pitching. We already have a much different philosophy than we did playing them earlier in the year when we met them in a mid-week game. We saw some things we could do better,” Jones said.

Needless to say, the lights won’t be too bright when the Hornets take the field Thursday.

Mentally and physically the athletes will be prepared, it’ll just come down to execution.

“I think they’ll be ready 100 percent, especially now that it’s the time of the year they were looking forward to. We won’t have to get them mentally ready for it. They know the chips are on the table and they expected to be here,” Jones said.