Ask both teams and you’ll get different variations of the same answer.
Is “momentum” an actual thing? Can it carry over from game to game or does it just exist within a series of plays — if at all? Gulfport (31-4) and Oak Grove (29-5) will provide plenty of data on the subject Monday when the two teams clash in the Class 6A South State series’ winner-takes-all Game 3.
First pitch at Gulfport is set for 7 p.m.
The two teams have experienced plenty of swings within the first two games of the series. Gulfport pieced together a six-run sixth to take Game 1 on Thursday, 7-3. The Admirals seemed to carry over the hot bats Saturday and jumped out to an early 2-0 lead only to see Oak Grove surge ahead late and win 3-2 in dramatic fashion.
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So who holds the advantage heading into Monday’s decisive game?
“We definitely have all of the momentum right now,” said Game 2 hero Drew Boyd, who hit a solo homer to tie the game in the sixth inning and closed out the game with a double play in the seventh. “We definitely played a good game on Thursday, we just struck out too many times and didn’t take any opportunities. This game we finally capitalized in the later innings. We definitely have the momentum.
“We have a lot of depth with guys who can throw off the mound. We’re ready. We’re ready to go.”
Gulfport coach Jamie McMahon said Saturday night he’s not worried about his guys playing tight despite the school’s first trip to the state championship since 2005 hanging in the balance.
“I don’t think our guys are wired that way,” McMahon said. “We’ll figure it out and see Monday when the first pitch is thrown. It was a good (post-game) huddle and meeting. I didn’t see (a tightness) in their eyes. They’re ready to go Monday.”
With the exception of Saturday’s starters Patrick Nelms and Jordan Coursey, both teams should have full pitching staffs at their disposal.
The winner of the game will advance to face Tupelo in the state championship at Trustmark Park in Pearl. The best-of-three series will begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday.
6A South State Finals
Who: Oak Grove at Gulfport
When: 7 p.m. Monday