High school baseball playoffs move into the second round and most are scheduled to start Thursday evening for the teams remaining in the MHSAA postseason.
DeSoto Central, which MaxPreps ranks as the number one team in Mississippi and which USA Today pegs as the number three team in its national Super 25 rankings, hosts Warren Central in the start of a best-of-three series.
DeSoto Central earned a bye through the opening round of the 6A playoffs, while Warren Central advanced to play the Jaguars with a two-game sweep of Tupelo.
On the other side of the North Half bracket, Hernando meets South Panola, which got a bye through the first round. Hernando swept Starkville in two straight to meet South Panola, as the Tigers finished the sweep with an 11-1 victory Monday night.
The first game of the series with the South Panola Tigers, a best-of-three, is set for Batesville Thursday.
A trio of DeSoto County teams remain in the Class 5A playoffs, which are also scheduled to start Thursday.
Lewisburg earned the first-round bye to play host to Germantown (Madison) Thursday evening to start a best-of-three series.
Meanwhile, Center Hill is to travel to Lafayette in Oxford to start its best-of-three and Olive Branch heads to Ridgeland to begin its series, also a best-of-three.
The Conquistadors moved on thanks to its second-straight shutout victory over Cleveland Central, this time a 11-0 five-inning contest in Olive Branch Monday night. The Quistors opened with a 9-0 win in Cleveland this past weekend.
Olive Branch broke open Monday’s game with five runs in the third inning. Alex Orman and Johnny Setchfield each had two hits in the win, Orman drove in four runs and Gavin Mink had three RBIs for the Conquistadors. At the same time, pitcher AJ Kaelin fanned two Wolves in the run-rule shortened game for the Quistors.
“We’re starting to swing it (the bats) better,” said Olive Branch coach Cade Hoggard. “We struggled early in the season but we’re now getting good contact. We’ve changed our approach to keep it simple and the guys in the past two weeks have started barreling up some balls and when you start doing that the confidence goes up.”
Scheduling and timing may change with each series, but the MHSAA has set each series to be done by Saturday. The host team tonight will also host the third and final game of the series, if a third contest is needed.
Thursday’s weather forecast also has chances of thunderstorms, which may also force an adjustment in the series scheduling.
SOFTBALL SERIES CONTINUES: Playoff action continued this week in the MHSAA playoffs with the big surprise happening Tuesday when Grenada swept out highly-ranked Lewisburg in two straight games. The Lady Chargers opened the series Monday with a 2-1 victory at Grenada, then came to Lewisburg and swept out the Lady Patriots 5-4 to take the series 2-0.
Ellie Jones homered for Lewisburg in the Tuesday loss. Grenada now moves into the next round against defending state champion Neshoba Central.
Lewisburg had been ranked number one in the state, according to MaxPreps.
The other 5A teams from DeSoto County also were eliminated Tuesday. Germantown (Madison) finished a two-game sweep of Center Hill with a 4-1 win, despite Emily Spencer and Erin Holmes with two hits for the Lady Mustangs. Holmes drove in the only Center Hill run of the game.
At the same time, Lafayette advanced with a 9-3 victory over Lake Cormorant. The Lady Gators scored twice in the fourth inning, but were held to three hits and committed five errors. Grace Smith picked up a pair of RBIs for the Lady Gators.
Among county 6A schools, Hernando had to quickly turn around after its opening round victory Monday over Starkville to defeat Tupelo 8-7 on Tuesday night and take a 1-0 lead in the series. Hernando scored three times in the second inning and two in the fifth, then fended off a Tupelo comeback that saw two runs scored in the seventh inning. The Lady Tigers pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of four Tupelo errors. Emmie Muizers and Rylee Eister each had three hits, Muizers drove in five runs. Pitcher Madison Burrus struck out five in seven innings.
Hernando advanced Monday with a 10-5 win over Starkville.
Defending 6A champion DeSoto Central Tuesday opened its playoff series against Warren Central with a 12-0 five-inning win in Vicksburg. The Lady Jags scored nine times in the third inning to break the game open. Sterling James held the Lady Vikes to one hit and struck out 13 batters. Kaitlyn Bednarek and Raegan Stafford each drove in three runs; Stafford had three hits.
TROJANS CONTINUE DISTRICT PLAY: Northpoint Christian’s baseball, softball and boys’ soccer teams found success this week in contests against Lausanne Collegiate in baseball, Harding Academy in softball, and Memphis Rise Academy in boys’ soccer.
The Trojans’ baseball team defeated Lausanne 6-3 on Monday and 6-5 Tuesday to complete a two-game sweep of the Lynx.
The Lady Trojans claimed a 19-2 four-inning victory against Harding Academy on Tuesday evening.
Also Tuesday, Northpoint took an 8-0 win in boys’ soccer against Memphis Rise Academy with two goals each from Wade Martin and Matt Enders.
SPORTS ETC.: Center Hill is expected to announce a new girls’ soccer coach Friday morning at 10 a.m. at the school. Coach David Burgess recently stepped down after 11 years coaching the Lady Mustangs. The announcement will be in the Performing Arts Center with parents welcome to attend. The new hiring is subject to school board approval.
Lafayette edged Lewisburg 4-3 in the North Half team tennis finals at Oxford Monday. The individual state tennis meet will start April 29 in Oxford.
Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.