HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Hattiesburg High School had not played particularly good baseball over the past week while waiting to join in the Class 5A playoffs.
After earning a first-round bye as a perk for winning the regular-season region crown, the Tigers had looked anything but sharp in three, so-called "tune-up" games scheduled expressly for that purpose.
But when the lights came on Friday night at Smokie Harrington Park for the opening game of a second-round, best-of-three series with Wane County High School, the Tigers flipped the switch as well.
Dexter Jordan allowed two singles in pitching a complete-game shutout over six innings and drove in three runs with three hits as Hattiesburg topped Wayne County 10-0.
"We needed a good win, no doubt about it," HHS coach Joe Hartfield said.
The Tigers (19-9) ended the game an inning early when Jaden Richardson's bases-loaded walk forced in the fifth run of the sixth inning, invoking the 10-run rule.
The second game of the series is set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Wayne County.
Wayne County (17-10) will try to duplicate the results of its first-round series, when the War Eagles lost of the first game before rallying to take the last two.
"(Friday), we did not do a lot of things well," Wayne County coach Ian Sharp said. "But you know what? It's a three-game series, and we have to play our best baseball.
"I was upset because we did not come out and show the best version of us."
Jordan (5-2) had much to do with that. The senior allowed a two-out single to fellow pitcher Tanner Wells in the first and two single in the fifth to Tyler Newsome. Other than that, the War Eagles managed just four other baserunners in the game on a walk, an error and two hit batsmen.
"Dex, he's unstoppable and gives us the energy we love to have," said HHS center fielder Joe Gray, who made a highlight-reel catch when he ran down Well's long fly to the left-center field gap in the sixth inning.
HHS broke out for 2-0 in the first inning against Wells (4-6), scoring two runs without benefit of hit. Caleb Tart reached on an error and after Gray was hit by a pitch, both moved up a base on a wild pitch. Jordan's sacrifice fly scored the first run and Gray came on another wild pitch.
The Tigers added three runs in the third inning. Tart singled and scored on Jordan's triple to deep center. After two walks loaded the bases, Jairus McFarland forced in a run with a walk and A.J. Stinson pushed across another for a 5-0 lead when he was hit by a pitch.
Jordan got in a jam in the fifth inning when Braxton Lee walked with one out and Newsome singled with two down. Brenon Sehon's sharp grounder was misplayed, loaded the bases, but Jordan got a pop up to first to end the threat.
HHS sent 10 men to the plate in the bottom of the sixth. Jordan and McFarland had run-scoring singles, McFarland (hit-by-pitch) and Richardson (walk) forced in runs and another scored on an error.
Jordan hit a triple and two singles, drove in three runs and scored twice. Stinson had a double and single. Tart reached base three times, including a single and scored three runs, Gray reached and scored twice and McFarland added a single.