PEARL – Corinth’s Jackson Lancaster hopes for a repeat performance – namely a victory – on the big stage today.
The Warriors’ senior center fielder had an RBI triple in the first inning against West Lauderdale’s hard-throwing right-hander Chance Denson in Corinth’s 5-3 victory in Game 1 of its MHSAA Class 4A state championship series.
“He was throwing upper 80s and I knew to stay short and drive the ball. I just jumped on a good pitch,” Lancaster said.
Today at 1 p.m., Lancaster, a left-hander, will take the mound for the Warriors in Game 2 with a state title, the program’s first since 1956, riding on the outcome.
“I’ll come in with a few butterflies. It’s the state championship, Game 2,” said Lancaster, who’s 7-2 with a 0.85 ERA and 93 strikeouts. “If I keep the ball low and away in the zone, I’ll be OK.”
Corinth coach Rob Scarbrough says Lancaster is the team’s No. 2 by number only. Kyle Crigger, the Game 1 winner, is considered No. 1.
“Jackson has pitched phenomenally,” Scarbrough said. “He’s really good.”
He didn’t post huge numbers, but Corinth starting pitcher Kyle Crigger got the job done. He pitched a complete game, scattered 11 hits, stuck out three, walked one and gave up no earned runs.
“Our offense wasn’t there today. His speed (80s) didn’t get us. We just weren’t focused on it. He was making us chase some. We weren’t as disciplined as we should have been.” – East Union pitcher/outfielder Joel Wilkinson on Loyd Star junior pitcher Cade Hodges, who struck out 13 and pitched a 2-hitter in his team’s 4-0 Game 1 victory.
Hodges was the losing pitcher for Loyd Star last season when East Union won Game 2 and the state championship. The Urchins beat the then-sophomore 5-1.
“Last year I came in kind of nervous. This time I was a lot more relaxed,” Hodges said. “My slider was really working. My fastball kept them off-balance.”
Today’s Game 2s
Class 4A: Corinth vs. West Lauderdale, 1 p.m. (Corinth leads series 1-0)
Class 6A: Tupelo vs. Gulfport, 4 p.m. (Tupelo leads series 1-0)
Class 3A: Mooreville vs. Seminary, 7 p.m. (Mooreville leads series 1-0.)
AROUND THE BASES
West Lauderdale coach Jerry Boatner has coached 49 seasons, 44 with the Knights. He’s won 13 state championships during his tenure. … West Lauderdale junior right-hander Chance Denson, an Alabama commit who has been clocked in the low 90s, lasted just three innings against Corinth. His line: 5 hits, 5 runs, 3 earned, 3 walks, 1 strikeout. …The Mississippi Association of Coaches players of the year: John Mark Jolly, Tupelo Christian Prep (1A); Cade Hodges, Loyd Star (2A); co-winners Trace Henry, Mooreville; Adarius Myers, Seminary (3A); co-winners Kyle Crigger, Corinth; Jake Mason, West Lauderdale. The 5A and 6A winners will be announced today.