Winning state baseball crowns is still an exciting thing for DeSoto Central coach Mark Monaghan, now that he has won two in a row and three as the Jaguars' coach.
"Super, super, really special, I feel really blessed," Monaghan said Friday night after the Jaguars (34-3) scored early and went to defeat St. Martin (Ocean Springs) 5-0 in game two of the best-of-three championship series, a win that completed a two-game sweep of the Yellow Jackets in the finals.
It's the second straight title for the Jags and third in school history, along with the title won in 2015 over Oak Grove (Hattiesburg) in the finals.
DeSoto Central opened with two runs in the first and two more in the second inning for a 4-0 lead. The Jaguars added a solo run in the fourth inning while keeping St. Martin off the scoreboard the entire night.
Scoring first and having an early lead was huge for the Jaguars, Monaghan said.
"It took a little bit of the pressure off, but I feel like we really competed well on the mound," he noted. "Gabe Moore gave us a great start and then Reid Musselwhite and Will Logsdon both threw with a lot of heart. They competed and they handled themselves well in pressure situations."
Moore earned the pitching victory, throwing four innings, allowing five hits while striking out four. Musselwhite threw one inning and fanned one, followed by Logsdon, who pitched two innings and struck out five.
On the offensive side, Kyle Booker and Shemaar Stapleton each doubled among the Jaguars’ nine-hit attack. Base hits by Blaze Jordan, Dylan Hale, and Kamren James each drove in runs.
In the field, DeSoto Central was flawless while St. Martin committed four errors.
"This team is just as special as the ones that came before," related Monaghan when asked to compare this squad to previous teams. "Each year is different than the one before and each team is unique. They competed every day and worked to honor those teams that have come before them."
All-State selections, as voted by the state coaches, were announced with the end of the state tournament this week.
First team 6A selections, all from DeSoto Central, were pitcher Cade Smith, along with infielders Kamren James and Blaze Jordan.
Second team all-staters from DeSoto County were infielder Ben Brantley of Hernando and DeSoto Central’s Kyle Booker.
DeSoto Central coach Mark Monaghan was named the state’s 6A Coach of the Year.
Class 5A all-state picks included second-team choices pitcher Brayden Sanders, infielder Jacob Hill, and utility player Landon Rogers of Lewisburg.