Olive Branch softball

Anna Marie Sternisha of Olive Branch rounds third base and heads for home during Friday’s 9-7 softball victory over Center Hill.  Olive Branch lost to county rival Lake Cormorant 4-2 in a game this past Tuesday.  

Pairings are set for the MHSAA state high school baseball playoffs, set to start this weekend across the state.

The road to Pearl and the state final series is scheduled to start Friday with best-of-three first round series in Class 5A and 6A.

Defending state champion DeSoto Central has a bye in the 6A first round while awaiting the winner of the Tupelo-Warren Central series. Meanwhile, Hernando hosts Starkville and Southaven travels to Northwest Rankin for game one of their best-of-three series on Friday.

In 5A, Lewisburg gets a first-round bye and waits for the winner of the Germantown-Grenada series in the second round of play. Center Hill hosts Canton and Olive Branch travels to Cleveland Central for game one of their best-of-three series on Friday.

First round series contests are all scheduled to be played on Friday, Saturday and, if necessary, Monday. The host team on Friday would host the Monday deciding game, if needed.

Meanwhile, regular season action continued this week as teams looked to complete their schedules.

In Monday baseball action, Lewisburg beat Center Hill 7-1, as the Patriots plated three runs in the first inning and four more in the fourth. Bailey Shaw, Landon Rogers, and Jacob Hill each scored twice. Hill and Shaw had three hits each. Dylan Bond doubled and drove in two runs.

St. George’s (Collierville, Tenn.) shut out Northpoint Christian 4-0 with single runs in the first, fifth, sixth and seventh innings, despite Blake Berry’s two hits for the Trojans. Northpoint pitcher Logan Smith struck out four.

Olive Branch powered its way to a 16-1, three-inning victory over Lake Cormorant on Monday. The Conquistadors scored four times in the first, and six in each of the second and third innings. Matthew Koch drove in four runs for Olive Branch and AJ Kaelin drove in three runs in the contest.

In other Monday action, Southaven stopped Independence 15-5 in five innings.

Tuesday night, Lewisburg garnered a road win at Bartlett, Tennessee 4-1 as the Patriots scored three runs in the top of the sixth inning to break up a 1-1 tie. Brayden Sanders struck out five in 3.2 innings pitched for Lewisburg, as it improved to 17-7 for the season.

Hernando defeated Horn Lake 12-1 in five innings, as the Tigers improved to 17-6 for the year.

St. George’s (Collierville, Tenn.) completed a two-game sweep of Northpoint Christian with a 7-2 win Tuesday. The Gryphons got two runs in the fourth inning and four more in the fifth. Blake Cherry led the Trojans’ offense with two hits and two runs-batted-in. Blake Berry struck out three in 4.2 innings pitched for Northpoint.

Class 6A number one-ranked DeSoto Central easily disposed of Southaven 16-2 in five innings. Chase Honeycutt and Wesley Sides each drove in four runs for the Jaguars and Reid Musselwhite struck out four in 3.1 innings pitched. DeSoto Central scored six times in the first and six more in the second inning for a 12-0 lead after two. Southaven was held to just three hits in the game.

Olive Branch wrapped up its regular season with a 6-5 walk off victory against Ripley, as Baylee Taylor put down a squeeze bunt that drove in the winning run in the bottom of the seventh inning.

SOFTBALL SAFETIES: Monday softball results had South Panola over Lake Cormorant 7-5, as the Lady Tigers scored two in the top of the seventh. The Lady Gators followed with a run in the home half, but it was not enough to come back. Jillian Malone had two hits for Lake Cormorant.

Tuesday night, Center Hill scored three times in the third inning of a 4-3 victory over White Station (Memphis). Emily Spencer led the Lady Mustangs’ offense with a pair of hits and Katelyn Moss struck out five in three innings pitching for Center Hill.

Lewisburg finished its regular season unbeaten at 23-0 with a run in the bottom of the eighth inning for a 4-3 victory over Brighton, Tennessee. Lewisburg had tied the game at 3-3 with a run in the bottom of the seventh inning to force extra action.

Hernando upset DeSoto Central 3-2, as the Lady Tigers scored twice in the sixth inning and one in the seventh to take the victory. Jaclyn Carter and Avery Taylor each drove in a run for Hernando, while Sterling James struck out 12 for DeSoto Central. Madison Burrus answered for Hernando, as she struck out four Lady Jags in the win.

Lake Cormorant defeated Olive Branch 4-2, as Bree Raines and Grace Smith led the Lady Gators with two hits each. Smith also drove in three runs for the Lady Gators and Raines struck out four in the complete-game victory.

SPORTS ETC.: Lewisburg advanced in the 5A tennis team playoffs with a 7-0 victory over Ridgeland on Monday. The Patriots traveled to Grenada for the next round Wednesday.

* Lake Cormorant finished second to 5A champion Germantown in Saturday’s state meet at Mississippi Coliseum by a final score of 36-29. No other DeSoto County school was among the top 10 finishers in either 5A or 6A results at the meet.

ALL-STATE HONORS ANNOUNCED: The publication USA Today has announced its all-USA Mississippi high school boys’ basketball team and it includes Calvin Temple of state 5A champion Center Hill and D.J. Jeffries of state 5A runner-up Olive Branch on the first team. Temple was named state Player of the Year and the Mississippi Coach of the Year is Newton Mealer of Center Hill, which finished the season with a 31-3 record and the state title.

Endya Buford was honored as a first-team selection and Player of the Year for the all-USA Mississippi high school girls’ squad. The state’s Gatorade Player of the Year averaged 27.2 points and six rebounds a game for the 5A state champions. Jason Kennedy of 6A title winner Pearl was tabbed as Coach of the Year.

MUSTANGS DEFEND TRACK TITLES: Center Hill again won the MHSAA 5A region team track and field championships held on its own track Monday. The Mustangs defeated second-place Lafayette 121-105 to win the boys’ team title and the Lady Mustangs took home the girls’ team title 150-129 also over second-place Lafayette. The victories were back-to-back regional titles after Center Hill also claimed back-to-back district championships earlier. Olive Branch was third among boys’ teams with 68 points with Lake Cormorant fifth (63 points) and Lewisburg sixth (58 points). In the girls’ team standings, Olive Branch (61 points) was fourth, Lewisburg was fifth (42 points) and Lake Cormorant finished seventh (33 points). The top four individual finishers advanced to the North Half meet in Ridgeland. The Center Hill girls are the defending state 5A champions.

GARRETT JOINS VANDY STAFF: A former Southaven High School coach has joined the staff with the Vanderbilt football program. According to Vandy 247, Jeremy Garrett, who has been the head football coach at Ensworth, Tennessee, will become a defensive quality control coach on staff. He moves into a spot held by Jovan Haye, now a defensive line coach for the Commodores.

Garrett spent one season at Ensworth, where his team finished 7-5 and lost in the Tennessee state playoffs to the McCallie School. Before that, Garrett was a football assistant, head track and field coach and strength and conditioning coach at Southaven.

Bob Bakken is Sports Editor for the DeSoto Times-Tribune.

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