Rockets advance to second round
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 1:00 AM
The Neshoba Central Rockets held off a seventh-inning rally by Lake Cormorant Saturday to advance to the second round of the Class 5A state baseball playoffs.
Neshoba Central's Sammy Singleton completes a double play at second base during the Rockets' series against Lake Cormorant. The Rockets won the series, two games to one, and will take the Pearl Pirates in the second round of the playoffs.
The Rockets won game one of the best two-out-three series 9-0 while the Gators took the second contest 9-2. The Rockets led early in game three but the Gators were able to tie it in the top of the sixth.
Austin Harrison put the Rockets back in front with a double that scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Then in the seventh, Harrison was called to the mound help preserve the Rockets' 8-7 victory
Harrison has been named to play in the Mississippi High School All-Star baseball game which will be held May 31 in Jackson.
The Rockets started the week with a 4-1 win over Ridgeland in what would be their final regular season game. A game with West Lauderdale on Tuesday was rained out.
"We are pleased to advance in the playoffs but we aren't satisfied," Coach Justin Stovall said. "Every playoff game is important and we want to take this as far as we can."
The Rockets' next opponent will be the Pearl Pirates. Game one will be Thursday at 6 p.m. at Pearl while game two will be at Neshoba Central at 6 p.m. If a third game is needed, it will be played Saturday at Pearl. The Pirates are now coached by long-time Neshoba Central skipper Brian Jones.
The Rockets enter the week with a 16-9 record.
Neshoba Central 4
The Rockets scored all of their runs in the second inning and held off the Titans for the victory.
Harrison started the game and was the winning pitcher. The Rockets finished with three hits with Harrison, Tristan Ellingburg and Ryan Montgomery all getting a single.
Ridgeland's only run was scored in the third inning.
Neshoba Central 9
Lake Cormorant 0
Again, Neshoba Central scored all of their runs in one inning, this time the fourth.
Harrison pitched six innings and was the winning pitcher. He had four strike outs and allowed one hit.
The Rockets finished with seven hits. Harrison and Brandon Clark both had two singles and two RBIs. Ellingburg had a single and a RBI while Preston Anderson hit a single.
Lake Cormorant 9
Neshoba Central 2
This time, Lake Cormorant started with a big inning and took win over the Rockets.
The Gators scored seven in the first and two in the fourth. Neshoba Central scored two in the third inning.
Brady Stephenson took the pitching loss.
Both teams finished with five hits.
Anderson had two singles to lead the Rockets. Harrison added a single and a RBI while Brandon Clark and Sammy Singleton both hit a single.
Neshoba Central 8
Lake Cormorant 7
This was not a game for the faint at heart.
Neshoba Central scored one in the first and three in the second to go up 4-1. Lake Cormorant scored three in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Led by Harrison's two RBI double, the Rockets answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to go up 8-4.
But the game wasn't over. The Gators scored three runs in the top of the seventh. They had runners on third and second when Harrison returned to the mound on two day's rest to end the inning and send the Rockets to the second round of the playoffs.
Brandon Clark was the winning pitcher in relief of Ryan Montgomery. Harrison earned a save.
"It was a tight game at the end but our guys found a way to win," Stovall said.
Harrison led the Rockets with two doubles, one single and five RBIs. Clark hit a double and brought in one run. Taylor Irby, Anderson, Ellingburg and Stephenson all hit a single.