Sumrall, Northeast Jones clash in 4A South State
PINE BELT, Miss. (WDAM) -Four wins.
That’s all that separates either Sumrall or Northeast Jones from hoisting the state championship trophy, but before they can think about Trustmark Park, they’ll face each other in South State.
For the Tigers, it’s the first time in school history they’ve made it to the semifinal round.
“I’ve talked with a lot of our former players,” Northeast Jones head coach Jeremy Parker said. “They were excited to be able to see us succeed, see this new group of tigers succeed, you know in ways they weren’t able to.”
Meanwhile, five-time state champion and regular customer Sumrall returns to South State after taking home silver medals last year. The Bobcats are using the experience to their advantage.
“Being runner up, there are some things that I want to do this year that we didn’t do last year,” the Bobcats’ coach said. “Mentally, you’re looking at a group that has been there already, that has tasted the loss at state. It doesn’t taste good and they know that.”
“With us being there last year, we’re really going to know the standards and how it’s going to be coming up this year,” Sumrall pitcher Marshall Phillips said.
These are two programs with opposite experiences whose seasons have also developed in completely different ways.
Losing four of their first five games, Northeast Jones didn’t start out the year on track.
“Well, we’ve changed it up a little bit at practice. Found some things that have been working for us, especially during the game at the plate,” Northeast Jones Catcher Bryce Sullins said.
“[we changed] the way we practice, the way we execute, the energy in the dugout, the energy out there on the field,” Strickland said.
Those adjustments seemed to do the trick for the Tigers who have now only dropped one game through the first three rounds of the playoffs.
“We definitely have our work cut out for us with them being hot,” the Sumrall coach said. ‘That’s another thing probably going against us.”
Meanwhile at 31-1, Sumrall didn’t lose a game all season until the third round.
“Whenever we actually came and got beat, it was a little bit of motivation,” the Bobcats pitcher said.
“My whole thing was after the loss, how would we respond? I think that was everybody else’s thing too. How would they respond after a loss? With us winning the next two games, I think it kind of answered a lot of the critics of what we would do after a loss,” Davis said.
First pitch is Friday for 7 pm at Northeast Jones.
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