High School Sports

Four Coast slow-pitch teams begin state title pursuits Tuesday

Harrison Central coach Jimmy Parker presents pitcher Kristen Cade with her gold medal as she stands with her twin sister, catcher Kayla Cade, after the Red Rebelettes beat South Panola in May at the state fast-pitch softball championships in Ridgeland. The Red Rebelettes, who won the fast-pitch title, open the slow-pitch playoffs Tuesday at Wayne County.
Harrison Central coach Jimmy Parker presents pitcher Kristen Cade with her gold medal as she stands with her twin sister, catcher Kayla Cade, after the Red Rebelettes beat South Panola in May at the state fast-pitch softball championships in Ridgeland. The Red Rebelettes, who won the fast-pitch title, open the slow-pitch playoffs Tuesday at Wayne County. Special to the Sun Herald

Four South Mississippi slow-pitch softball teams will begin their state title pursuits Tuesday.

Both Harrison Central and George County qualified for the Class 5A/6A playoffs, with Moss Point and Poplarville entering the Class 4A playoffs.

Harrison Central will visit Wayne County to open the playoffs, which are a best-of-three format. The second round of the playoffs is slated for Friday.

“This is one of the best hitting teams I’ve had in the last 15 years,” said Harrison Central coach Jimmy Parker, whose Red Rebelettes are fresh off the fast-pitch title. “I just hope that we keep hitting. That’s our key to winning. If we’re hitting we’ll be OK.”

Harrison Central (16-3) was eliminated in the second round last season. This year, Parker said his team has used the slow-pitch season to bond and work on fundamentals.

“We try to have a little fun along the way, too,” he said.

George County

Keith Essary’s Rebels were one of the better teams in the South during the regular season with a 19-7 record. Tuesday, the Rebels host West Jones.

“We’ve got experience on the team,” Essary said. “The big thing for us is we started off slow and the young ones had to learn things and go through some growing pains.”

George County has caught fire lately and rides an 11-game winning streak into the postseason.

“When you can do that, you’re doing things right,” Essary said.

Class 4A

While GCHS has plenty of experience and veteran presence, Moss Point is on the other end of the spectrum. The Tigers opened the year with five eighth-graders scattered throughout the starting lineup.

Moss Point struggled early but ended up posting a 4-2 record in Region 8-4A to qualify for the playoffs.

“The kids really stayed with me, grew, got better,” Moss Point coach Alan Hill said. “It seemed like every day at practice and every time we played we got a little better. We really started to peak at a good time.

“I give the kids all the credit. They worked hard and have gotten a lot better.”

Moss Point will visit Lawrence County, while Poplarville hosts North Pike. Both 4A games begin at 5 p.m.

Each series will play best-of-three Tuesday night.

Patrick Ochs: 228-896-2321, @PatrickOchs

Playoff schedule

Class 5A/6A

Harrison Central at Wayne County, 5:30 p.m.

West Jones at George County, 5:30 p.m.

Class 4A

Moss Point at Lawrence County, 5 p.m.

North Pike at Poplarville, 5 p.m.

Teams play best-of-three Tuesday

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