PEARL New Hope held off a Pascagoula rally for an 11-9 victory in the first game of the Class 5A state title series at Trustmark Park on Wednesday.
New Hope catcher Tee Payne hit an RBI triple off the left field wall in the bottom of the sixth to give New Hope a 10-9 lead that it would not give up.
Taylor Stafford threw a perfect seventh inning to get the save.
Pascagoula rallied with six runs on four hits in the top of the sixth to tie the game at 9-9, but it could not overcome a rough start to the game.
Michael McCarty took the loss, giving up five runs in two innings out of the bullpen.
Andrew Crane had a bumpy start for the Panthers, giving up three earned runs on six hits while striking out none and walking one in three innings.
Pascagoula (22-14) will try to extend the series when it takes on New Hope (26-8) at 1:30 p.m. on Friday in Pearl.