Loyd Star hosts St. John Friday

Published 5:00 am Thursday, April 28, 2005

The Loyd Star Hornets host the Gulfport St. John Eagles Fridayin the first game of the best-of-three series in the semifinals ofthe Class 2A South State Baseball Playoffs. The game begins at 6p.m.

A second game will be played Saturday at St. John, starting at2. If a third game is necessary, Loyd Star will host St. John at 6on Thursday, May 5. The Eagles are coached by Joe Sam Owens.

In other 2A playoff action Friday involving South teams, NorthForrest (23-6) is at Philadelphia (18-12).

In the North 2A, Greenville O’Bannon (15-5) visits Mooreville(25-3) and Hollandale Simmons (22-5) is at Booneville (24-7).

Loyd Star head baseball coach Jonathan Breakfield put together ascouting report on St. John after talking to some coaches.

“They (St. John) have a couple of right-handers that throw inthe low 80’s,” said Breakfield. “They have a lefty that throws at80 (mph).”

According to Breakfield, the Eagles have a talented shortstopwho has signed with Gulf Coast Community College. He is their No. 3hitter.

“Jamie Hodges is a lefty and their No. 2 pitcher,” statedBreakfield.

Breakfield passed on statistics about his young Hornet pitchingstaff. He has two juniors and a sophomore who will be seeing actionover this series.

Kyle James, a junior, is 3-1 on the season with one save and a1.55 ERA. Opponents are batting .225 against him. Patrick Holcomb,another junior, is 5-4 with a 2.87 ERA. Opponents are hitting .212against him. Holcomb also leads with 60 strikeouts in 50 innings.Jared Rogers, a sophomore, stands 8-1 with a 2.68 ERA. Opponentsbatted .255 against him.

Loyd Star has three talented batters hitting above the .400range.

Brett Fielder leads the Hornets with a .433 average including 9doubles and a triple. Tyler Williford bats .418 with 9 doubles anda homer. Michael Britt is third with a .407, including 3 home runs,2 triples and 5 doubles.

Other leading hitters for the Hornets include Chris Hester at.365, Holcomb at .341, Kyle James at .330 with 5 homers and 25 RBI,Austin Fagan at .316 with 4 homers, Rogers at .310 followed byScott Farmer at .246.

“We had a good practice Monday,” said Breakfield. “We hit about30 minutes and worked in the weight room Tuesday.”

Breakfield says the Hornets must have a balance of good pitchingand good hitting to heat the Eagles.

“St. John is real scrappy,” explained Breakfield. “We have toplay good defense. St. John battles at the plate. We have to pitchwell and score runs when we need too.”

The Eagles won the Lumberton Regional, defeating Seminary 11-1in the finals and going unbeaten in 3 region games. They also beatEnterprise-Clarke 13-5 and Lumberton 16-10.

Loyd Star won its first regional test 7-3 over Newton but lostto Wesson 7-4 in the second round. The Hornets recovered anddefeated Lake 6-3. They beat Wesson 3-1 and 8-3, back-to-back inthe finals.