HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - In the fifth inning Saturday night at Harrington Park, Noah Thornton's two-run double gave Hattiesburg High School a one-run lead in the second game of a Class 5A playoff baseball series with West Harrison High School.
It didn't last.
But in the bottom of the sixth inning, Thornton's two-run single drove in the game-winning runs and Hattiesburg went on to close out a 10-8 victory over the Hurricanes.
Coupled with a 12-2 win Friday night, HHS (29-5) swept the best-of-three series, and moved into the Class 5A South State title series for the second consecutive season.
And, for a second straight year, the Tigers will face Pearl River Central High School (24-10), which swept Long Beach High School. The Blue Devils won 10-3 Friday night before closing out the series 6-5 Saturday.
"It'll be like a heavyweight bout," Hattiesburg coach Joe Hartfield said of the Tigers' region foe.
Saturday night was a back-and-forth bout.
West Harrison (20-11) erased a 1-0 deficit in the third inning on back-to-back triples by Kasey Donaldson and Brandon Parker and a catcher's interference call.
The Hurricanes padded the lead to 5-1 in the fourth inning thanks in large part to some sloppy play in the field by the Tigers, scoring three runs on an error, a RBI-single by Parker and interfering with a runner at third base.
The Tigers got a run back in the bottom of the inning when Dexter Jordan doubled, moved to third on a wild pitch and scored on A.J. Stinson's grounder.
Hattiesburg took a 6-5 lead in the fifth inning, scoring four runs on two hits, including Thornton's double to right field. Jordan had a sacrifice fly in the inning and another run came in on a passed ball.
But the Hurricanes scored twice with two outs in the sixth inning for a 7-6 lead, when Tate Parker and Brandon Parker scored on a dropped popup in shallow right field.
But the Tigers got to West Harrison starter Cade Simon (7-3) for four more runs in the bottom of the sixth inning. Destin Holliman drove in the first run with a double to tie the game with one out, and after the Tigers loaded the bases with two outs, Thornton drilled a single to give the Tigers a 9-7 lead.
"I was just trying to hit the top half, stay on top of it and not do too much with it," said Thornton, who also pitched 2 1/3 innings between the fourth and sixth innings. "I was able to hit a line drive that found a hole somewhere."
Jordan scored the inning's final run on the back end of a double steal.
The Hurricanes scored once in the seventh, but Jamarcus Russell came in to get a strikeout and Thornton threw out Ephraim Patton trying to steal to end the game.
"It was a battle," West Harrison coach David Marsland said. "We had chances all night long, but we got beat by a better team.
A.J. Stinson (7-4), who came on in relief with no outs in sixth and a runner on first base, picked up the win after pitching 1 1/3 innings.
Thornton led the Tigers with a double and two singles, while Stinson and Jordan hit a single and double apiece. Holliman had a double, while Caleb Tart and Letrell Johnson hit a single each.
Brandon Parker hit a triple and single for West Harrison, Kasey Douglas had a triple and Patton and Tate Parker had a single each.