‘It’s a great day to be a Rocket’

‘It’s a great day to be a Rocket’


One thing is for sure: This is a great time to be a Neshoba Central Rocket sports fan.

The Neshoba Central baseball team wrapped up its first Class 5A North State championship series with a 3-2 victory over defending State Champion Saltillo on Monday. 

The game was played before a standing-room-only home crowd. Now, the Rockets will play the winner between Van Cleave and the East Central Hornets of Moss Point for the Class 5A State Championship. 

The best two-out-of-three series will be played at Trustmark Park in Pearl next Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday. Times have not be announced.

Meanwhile, the Neshoba Central fast-pitch softball team will be playing for its ninth straight state championship and 11th in school history this week.

They will be playing the East Central Hornets in a rematch from last year’s state championship series. 

The first game was played Tuesday with game two set for Wednesday at the University of Southern Mississippi softball complex.

“We had a great crowd Monday night,” said Neshoba Central Athletic Director Tommy Holland. “Our players, coaches and parents have done a heck of a job to get us where we are.

“They say winning is contagious but it doesn’t come without a cost. It doesn’t happen overnight. There is a lot of sacrifices that are made.”

Neshoba Central has a chance to have three state championships this school year.

The girls basketball team went undefeated and won the Class 5A State Championship back in March. Also, the football team made it to the North State Championship game and the girls bowling team was the runner up in the state match.

Holland said one key to success for baseball and football has been student athletes are playing more than one sport.

“We have a lot of dual athletes now,” Holland said, “Our coaches work well together and they understand those kids want to play. They say, ‘hey, we are going to make it work for them.’

“Our starting second baseman [Bryceton Spencer] also played football and basketball this year. There is a lot of work on that side people don’t see.”

Last weekend was a busy one for baseball coach Jonathan Jones. After his team lost the first game 6-3 in 11 innings to Saltillo, they bounced back to win 10-8 on Saturday and force the game three at home.

Jones, a Neshoba Central alum, took over as head baseball coach three years ago. His first season was shortened because of the COVID-19 pandemic. But last year was a good one and now he has his team playing for its first State Championship in school history.

“Three years ago, I knew it was a really good program,” Coach Jones said. “I knew we had a great opportunity to be good. We just needed to get in here and work and get after it like we always do in every other place I have been.

“We try to outwork people. This is a testament to these kids for buying into my system and the way we do things, It was great team effort.”

Coach Zach Sanders took a young team with only two seniors starting and has them back in the state championship round again. They made quick work of New Hope in the North State championship series, winning 7-1, 9-0.

“We only worry about the next game,” Sanders said. 

“We aren’t thinking about the past championship. You have to give all of the credit to the kids. 

“We had some young players starting this year and they worked hard and got it done.”

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