Jordan powers Hattiesburg past South Jones

Jordan powers Hattiesburg past South Jones

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Dexter Jordan not only came up huge for Hattiesburg High School on the mound Friday night at Smokie Harrington Stadium, but at the plate as well.

Jordan scattered seven singles and struck out nine Braves in seven innings, but his two-out triple with the bases loaded keyed a five-run fourth innings as the Tigers took the opening game in a second-round, best-of-three Class 5A baseball playoff series.

Game 2 is set for 7 p.m. Saturday in Ellisville.

"This is kind of a unique team," Hattiesburg High coach Joe Hartfield said. "Normally, the teams I coach score one or two runs (an inning), and we've kind of had that approach.

"But this team is a big-inning team, at least the last half of the season."

Hattiesburg (22-8), which won for the eighth time in its last nine games, trailed South Jones 1-0, as Braves right-hander Max Sharp had worked out of a bases-loaded jam in the third inning.

But Noah Thornton walked to open the fourth inning for Hattiesburg and went to second on a one-out single by Quanell Curry.

Sharp (7-3) got his sixth strikeout of the game for the second out, but Jaden Richardson singled to tie the game, and Destin Holiman followed with a single to right field to put the Tigers up 2-1 with runners at first and third base.

After lining a ball just foul deep down the left-field line, Joe Gray walked on four pitches to load the bases, and Jordan crushed a full-count fastball nearly to the base of the wall in left-center field to push the lead to four runs.

"That's our defensive philosophy, avoid the big inning, and they had the big inning," South Jones coach Jordan Rogers said. "Hats off to them, and hats off to him. That was a pretty good matchup there, and he got it. It was pretty simple."

Jordan (5-3) outdueled Sharp, giving up a run-scoring single in the second inning to Ryne Sasser that scored Chad Moses, and a two-out, run-scoring single in sixth inning to Ricky Boleware.

But Jordan walked only one and struck out nine while going the distance.

Hartfield said both pitchers gave top-shelf efforts Friday.

"Their guy threw a very good game," Hartfield said. "He's a quality guy, and we knew we were in for a tough matchup.

"He threw up a lot of zeroes (Friday night), and we have to give him credit."

Each team had seven hits. South Jones (18-11), which had swept an opening-round series from Jackson Provine last weekend, got two singles each from Ryne Sasser and Boleware, while Steven Sasser, McCoy Walters and Tyler Ducksworth each hit a single.

Richardson and Curry each had two singles for the Tigers. Gray and Holiman had a single apiece and Jordan came up with the only extra-base hit of the game.