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BHS wins 4A semifinals

MERIDIAN – Rain and Brookhaven High School pitcher DariusPerkins brought Northeast Lauderdale’s run in the Class 4A baseballplayoffs to an end on Saturday.

The Trojans (22-11) lost 13-7 to the Panthers (26-6), after a15-minute rain made the field unplayable to finish the game in thetop of the seventh at Glynn Frazier Field. The loss eliminatedNortheast from the playoffs.

“With first base under water and third base under water, itwould have been impossible to get the field ready to continue on,”said Northeast head baseball coach Steve Nelson. “We made too manymistakes in the field, and they did an outstanding job. It justwasn’t meant to be for us, but these kids I’m coaching have nothingto be ashamed of.”

Brookhaven advanced to the South State Championship game withthe

victory. The Panthers will play the winner of the best-of-threeseries

between West Jones and Petal. The deciding game of the serieswill be played on Monday at Petal.

“We’ve never gone past the second round before,” said Panthershead baseball coach Randy Spring. “We have a great group of kidsand a great staff. I’m just real proud of all of them.”

Perkins went 4-for-5 at the plate with two singles, a two-runhome run

and a grand slam for eight RBIs.

The 6-foot-2 Perkins also picked up the pitching win forBrookhaven. Perkins allowed seven runs off nine hits with sixstrikeouts in six innings

of work.

“This was one of those days to remember,” Spring said. “Dariusis a good hitter and he has been swinging it real well lately.”

Perkins tied the game at five with his first home run of thegame. The pitcher’s hit dipped over the left-field wall just overthe glove of the Trojans’ outfielder to bring home W.T. King, whoreached first on a single.

Brookhaven broke the game open in the top of the fifth inning,scoring

six runs on five hits and one Northeast error for an 11-5advantage.

The Panthers’ Adam Ogden, Grant McDonnieal and Scotty Smith ledoff the inning with singles to load the bases. Brookhavendesignated hitter Josh Patrick followed with a sharp grounder toNortheast’s third baseman, who stepped on third for the force outbut threw the ball over the catcher’s head to allow Ogden toscore.

“You hate to single out one play, but that could have taken alot of life out of (Brookhaven),” Nelson said. “We might have beenable to get out of the inning without giving up a run, instead theygot six.”

Brookhaven third baseman Cody Dunnaway brought home another runwith a single for a 7-5 lead in the next at bat, and Perkinsblasted a grand slam over the the left-center fielder wall to capthe scoring for the inning.

Perkins struck again for the Panthers in the top of the sixth,hitting a two-run single with two outs for a 13-5 lead.

“I was fired up for the game,” said Perkins. “I had to get backfor that loss to Laurel.” Perkins was referring to last Monday’s17-3 regional loss to Laurel when he gave up 11 hits and 2homers.

Asked about his offensive performance against NortheastLauderdale, Perkins said, “The homers felt good to me. I was seeingthe ball real well.”

Northeast scored the last two runs of the rain-shortened game inthe bottom of the sixth with an RBI single by center fielder CoryChance, who went 2-for-4 with two RBIs, and an RBI double from ChadBrunson, who went 3-for-4 with three RBI.

The Panthers and Trojans exchanged two runs each in the firstinning, with Brookhaven scoring on a double by Brooks Hall and afielder’s choice from McDonnieal. Northeast scored on a single fromBrunson and a sacrifice fly by pitcher Nathan Peden.

The Panthers scored one run in the second for a 3-2 lead off awild pitch, but the Trojans posted three runs off three hits in thebottom of the

inning for a 5-3 advantage.

With two outs, Northeast shortstop Jason Pritchett, who went3-for-4 with two doubles, reached on an error, that allowed thirdbaseman Jeremy Barnacastle to score and tie the game at three.Chance followed with a double that scored Pritchett, and Brunsonbrought home Chance with a single.

Hall, Ogden and McDonnieal each had two hits for Brookhaven.Hall notched a double.