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Copiah’s grand slams conclude season for BA Cougars

Patience. Patience. Patience.

Copiah Academy coach Scooter Prince preached patience to hisbatters Thursday night in the MPSA Class AA state baseballplayoffs. When the smoke finally cleared, Prince’s Colonels haderased a 3-0 Brookhaven Academy lead and pounded the Cougars for 3home runs, including grand slam clouts by Hunter Renfroe and ScottyReese in a 12-5 triumph at Cougar Park.

The victory advances the powerful Colonels (24-2) to the nextround of the state playoffs. They will face the winner of theNatchez Trinity/Oak Forest series, starting Tuesday at Gallman.

The Cougars end their season 12-10 under sixth-year head coachStephen Cooksey who made his farewell appearance last night as arecord crowd estimated at 500 packed the grandstand and lined thefences.

“We struggled for four innings and then we got patient, waitingon pitches,” explained Coach Prince. “I told our players they haveto be patient.”

Patience finally paid off. Renfroe, a lanky 6-foot-4 catcher,smashed a fastball from BA starter Tripp Jolly over the centerfield wall, making it 5-3.

Renfroe leads the Colonels with 12 homers. He has been battlinga serious cold and chest congestion.

“I’ve been sick for two weeks,” said Renfroe, trying to muffle acough. “We were swinging at bad pitches early in the game. I knewour team could hit the ball.”

Still in the fifth, Copiah teammate Bryce Guess slapped a 2-runhomer over the right field fence and it was 7-3.

In the sixth, relief pitcher Tyler Parvin gave up the eighth runon an RBI single by Jeremy Newman. Scottie Peavey took the moundand was greeted by Renfroe’s single up the middle. Reese came tothe plate with the bases loaded and launched a grand slam over thescoreboard in left-center field, making it 12-3.

“Everyone on our team can hit the ball,” said Prince, a Brandonnative who graduated from University Christian. “From one throughnine we can hit the ball.”

Prince praised junior right-hander Ben Boone who remainedunbeaten in 8 games. “Ben was a bulldog out there tonight andreally battled.”

Boone went 5.1 innings. He struck out 4 batters, walked 2 andallowed 4 runs on 6 hits.

On a beautiful night for baseball, the Cougars appeared ready toavenge Tuesday’s 12-8 loss at Copiah. They went up 1-0 in thesecond inning on a line drive, solo homer by Brent Henderson.

“Our young kids played their hearts out for me,” said Cooksey.”They’ll always remember playing this game with Kolby Byrd,” aMississippi State signee.

Cooksey said Jolly did a commendable job on the mound. “Trippthrew well, about as good as he could throw. He has a brightfuture.”

In the third, catcher Kolby Byrd launched a towering solo homerover the center field wall and it was 2-0. With 2 out in thefourth, Bubba Keene raced home with his team’s third run when Booneoverthrew second base on an attempted pickoff.

Keene’s RBI single to right in the sixth scored BA’s fourth run.A throwing error plated the fifth run.

Southpaw Michael Bagley replaced Boone on the mound but hadcontrol problems. Sidearm submariner Trevor Blocker (1 K, 1 BB)replaced Bagley in the sixth with the bases loaded and preservedthe win.