Region baseball brings lots of fans to Lincoln

Published 5:00 am Thursday, April 22, 2004

Lincoln County baseball fans will enjoy a large helping of highschool baseball this weekend. The new state playoff format, createdby the Mississippi High School Activities Association, will bringplenty of folks to the Brookhaven and Loyd Star diamonds.

Brookhaven, the Division 6-4A champion, is hosting a 4-team,double-elimination regional. Loyd Star, the 6-2A kingpin for athird straight year, is hosting a similar regional.

Under the new format, two games will be played Friday and three,opening round winners vs. winners and losers vs. losers onSaturday. A title game will be played Monday at 4 p.m.

Brookhaven, coached by Randy Spring, won its second straightdivision championship The Panthers will play George County Fridaynight at 7. Laurel plays Terry in the 4 p.m. opener. Action resumesSaturday at noon with Friday’s winners colliding. Losers play at 3p.m. An elimination game will be played at 7 p.m.

At Loyd Star, the Hornets are aiming for another strong run atthe 2A championship. Coached by Sidney Wheatley, the Hornets playClarkdale at 6 p.m. tomorrow Madison St. Joseph plays Seminary at 3p.m. To help St. Joe cope with Prom Night, the games were movedback one hour.

Saturday’s session starts at noon with the winners while thelosers play at 3. A similar 6 p.m. elimination game isscheduled.

Under the new format, the No. 2 and No. 3 teams out of eachdivision must travel in the opening round while the No. 1 teamhosts and the No. 4 team stays close to home. Does that makesense?

Under the old format, only the No. 1 and No. 2 teams out of eachdivision advanced to the state playoffs. No. 1 hosted an openinground best-of-three series while No. 2 went on the road.

In the meantime, coaches are praying for healthy pitchers tosurvive this opening round regional. Pitching depth is slim,especially at small schools.

While many folks who planted gardens (including me) are prayingfor rain to soak the parched ground, baseball coaches who arehosting regionals are praying they don’t see much of the wet stuff.That could really cause havoc.

As late as Tuesday, there was a slight chance of the regionalsbeing changed to a Thursday, Friday, Saturday schedule becausestate-wide testing begins next Tuesday. Laurel and George Countyalready have made reservations at local motels for this weekend’stournament and will spend Friday night near Brookway Boulevard.

Meanwhile, Lawrence County and McComb out of Division 6-4A musttravel to the Petal regional. Lawrence County, coached by ChrisClark, tackles nationally ranked Petal in the opening round whilethe McComb Tigers, coached by Chuck Freeman, meet Pearl RiverCentral.

In Class 3A, Ed Zumbro, Jr. takes his Franklin County Bulldogsto the Class 3A regional at Raleigh. The Bulldogs play Collins inthe opening round while Port Gibson faces Raleigh.

At North Pike, George Lott’s Jaguars are hosting a 3A regional.North Pike meets Richland and Magee plays Amite County in theopening round.

In Class 2A, Hugh Knight carries his Wesson Cobras to theEnterprise-Clarke Regional. Wesson plays Taylorsville at 4 p.m.Friday and Enterprise-Clarke meets St. Andrew’s at 7. Wesson, freshfrom a big Monday night win over Brookhaven, has a lot ofmomentum.

In Class 1A, Division 7-1A champion Natchez Cathedral hosts thisweekend and plays Scott Central in the opening round. Enterprise ofLincoln County, the No. 4 seed, is coached by Chris Smith. TheJackets play Union at 4 p.m.

West Lincoln must make the long ride to Edinburg for a 1Aregional. The Bears, coached by Andrew Redd, meet No. 1 seedEdinburg in the opening round at 7 p.m. Sebastopol plays VicksburgSt. Aloysius at 4.

Meanwhile, the girls state fastpitch softball playoffs are inthe semifinals this weekend. The Lawrence County Lady Cougars,coached by Beronica Stringfellow, play a doubleheader Saturday atEast Central in Hurley. East Central is the 3-time defending Class4A state champion. Action begins at 10:30 a.m., followed by thesecond game at

1 p.m. A third game, if necessary, would be played Tuesday nightat Lawrence County.

Also on Saturday, the Co-Lin Wolves are at Southwest in Summitfor a key South Division twinbill. Coached by Keith Case, theWolves are battling for a berth in the state tournament and need asweep of their archrivals.

GRIDIRON ACTION: Coach Tucker Peavey and his Brookhaven Pantherskick off spring football practice today. The Panthers will havethree weeks of spring drills and wind up with a spring game onMonday, May 10. The Gridiron Club will sponsor a catfish dinnercookout as a fund raiser on King Field the same evening.