Hit times 15.
West Jones continued to stay hot at the plate Wednesday afternoon as it did throughout the South portion of the playoff bracket, barreling out double-digit hits at Trustmark Park in Pearl to beat Lafayette 10-1 in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 5A Championship series.
With the win Wednesday afternoon, West Jones takes a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
“Our kids came out and did a good job early,” said West Jones head coach Trey Sutton. “They jumped on [Lafayette]. They had a kid that came [in relief] and did a good job for them. He kept us off-balance and killed our momentum a little, but I’m proud of our kids for coming out and putting runs on the board as they did.”
West Jones led off the first inning with three straight singles off the bats of Walker Thompson, Dustin Dickerson and Colson Harris, the latter scoring Thompson from third base. After an RBI ground ball by Garrett McLaurin, Cole Tolbert laced a triple over the head of Lafayette’s right fielder to score Harris from second. Their fourth and final run of the inning came as a result of a Lafayette error with two outs.
Tolbert led West Jones offensively on the day with four base hits in four plate appearances. The Soso sophomore slugger finished with two RBI, his second coming in the sixth inning to give West Jones its 10th and final run of Game 1.
“He’s a kid with a lot of talent,” said Sutton. “He’s still a young kid, a sophomore, and right now he’s swinging the bat well. He’s got that in him, and I hope he continues that.”
“I’ve seen the ball well lately,” said Tolbert who went 4-for-5 in the South State series vs. Pearl River Central. “And that was my plan coming into today. It worked out.”
Harris and Thompson also had a great day at the plate. Both had three hits apiece and three RBI between them. Thompson’s RBI in the third was part of another four-run inning for the Mustangs.
Apart from the two four-run frames, West Jones scored solo runs in the second and six too.
“Our kids have done a good job at the plate lately,” Sutton said. “We didn’t swing it well early in the playoffs, but ever since the Picayune series we came out focusing on what we wanted to do at the plate. Ever since then, we’ve picked it up offensively.”
Dickerson came one out away from a complete performance on the mound. Luke Leggett came in relief with two outs on the board in the bottom of the seventh and the bases loaded. Leggett ended the game on a strikeout in the only batter he faced. Dickerson had 13 strikeouts as he grabbed his eighth win of the season, in what will be his last high school appearances on the mound.
“That’s been him all year for us,” said Sutton when asked about Dickerson’s performance. “He’s done a great job for us every time he’s come out. He fills the zone up and has three or four pitches that he moves around.”
Dickerson said the run support by his team’s offense helped him relax.
“I’ll take it,” said Dickerson. “We got the win, so that is what matters. We’ve been swing the bat well lately. When you have that run support, it means a lot.”
Dickerson gave up just one earned run and five hits allowed.
West Jones and Lafayette face off in Game 2 of the 5A Championship series Thursday night at Trustmark Park in Pearl. First pitch is slated for 7 p.m. The Mustangs are one win away from their first baseball title in school history.