Panthers prepare for West Jones

Published 5:00 am Thursday, May 6, 2004

West Jones, also known as the Giant Killer, invades BrookhavenThursday for the South State 4A Championship Series. Game One ofthe best-of-three series starts at 7 p.m. on Moyer Field.

Game Two will be played Saturday at West Jones, starting at 1p.m. A third game, if necessary, will be played next Monday nighton Moyer Field at 7 p.m.

The West Jones Mustangs (23-7) are fresh from eliminatingnationally-ranked Petal 11-6 Monday night at Petal.

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West Jones is coached by Wade Clark who is in his sixth year atthe helm.

The Mustangs’ No. 1 pitcher is Johnathan Blakeney (12-4), asubmarine right-hander. Blakeney held Petal to 2 hits Fridaynight.

On Monday night, Blakeney went 4 2/3 innings and got the win. Hesigned with Jones County Community College.

The No. 2 pitcher for West Jones is Brandon Davis (6-2) with a1.39 ERA. Davis beat Petal 3-1 and gave up only 2 hits.

At the plate, shortstop/pitcher Trey Sutton bats .500 for theMustangs and has signed with Southern Miss. He bats left and throwsright.

Britt Barefoot, an all-state receiver in football, is thecatcher and leads off for the Mustangs. He bats .350 and has signeda football scholarship with Southern Miss.

Second baseman Fernando Goldman bats .408. Third baseman BrettLawson bats .371. Brett Hyatt starts in left field and serves asdesignated hitter. Hyatt has signed with Tennessee-Chattanooga.

Brookhaven coach Randy Spring watched the Petal-West Jonesfinals at Petal.

“West Jones is very athletic and they have real solid pitching,”said Spring. “The Blakeney kid is a side-armer who is good. Suttonthrows a good breaking ball.”

Spring’s Panthers are 26-6 on the season, sweeping NortheastLauderdale last weekend in the South semifinals. They won 6-1Friday night on Moyer Fielder and 13-7 Saturday at NortheastLauderdale. This is their most successful season in the stateplayoffs.

“This will be a big test for us, for sure,” said Spring.”Hopefully, we will be a little more rested. Our arms should befresh.”

Senior right-handers Scotty Smith (9-2) and Brooks Hall (9-1)lead the Brookhaven pitching staff.

“The key will be playing good defense,” said Spring. “We can’topen up doors and let them score easy runs.”

Junior pitcher/outfielder Darius Perkins provided the Pantherswith a herculean performance in last Saturday’s victory atNortheast Lauderdale. He slugged 2 homers, including a grand slam,and accounted for 8 RBI, going 4-for-4. He also pitched thevictory.

Perkins leads the Panthers with 5 homers this season. CatcherAdam Ogden is batting .466 and Hall is bating .440. CenterfielderXavier Qualls is bats .416 and has 10 stolen bases.

BHS designated hitter Josh Patrick is batting .389. Firstbaseman Grant McDonnieal is averaging .372. Third baseman BrandtHinton and Cody Dunaway are batting .356 and .333 respectively.

Spring anticipates a big crowd tomorrow night. “They have a goodgroup of fans who follow them. We’ve been drawing some goodsupport, too.”

In the North State Championship Series, Ridgeland is playingPontotoc this week.