High School Sports

Sun Herald Top 10: No. 1 Gulfport not getting caught up in streak

Gulfport's Larazzo Shugart watches as the umpire calls him out following a tag by Biloxi catcher Tucker Thomas during the third inning of their game at Biloxi on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. GHS heads into this week’s two-game series with rival Harrison Central boasting a 19-1 record.
Gulfport's Larazzo Shugart watches as the umpire calls him out following a tag by Biloxi catcher Tucker Thomas during the third inning of their game at Biloxi on Tuesday, March 28, 2017. GHS heads into this week’s two-game series with rival Harrison Central boasting a 19-1 record. jcfitzhugh@sunherald.com file

No. 1 Gulfport has been playing about as complete of a game as there has been on the Coast this year. The Admirals continue to couple timely hits with fantastic pitching and efficient defense. The result has been a 19-1 overall record and a stranglehold on the Sun Herald’s top spot with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season.

“Honestly, it’s been pitching and playing defense,” GHS coach Jamie McMahon said Monday. “We’re not giving anything away to most teams.”

That may be a massive understatement. According to Maxpreps.com, the Admirals have only surrendered 39 runs this season, 15 fewer than No. 2 Oak Grove and 16 less than reigning Class 6A champion Madison Central.

Blake Johnson (6-0) and Patrick Nelms (4-1) anchor a deep pitching staff that boasts a miniscule 1.12 ERA.

Johnson is among the state’s strikeout leaders with 66.

“He’s fooling enough people with his velocity,” McMahon said. “He locates it and goes down hill. He must hide it well enough for (batters) not to see it.”

Nelms is second on the staff with 32 strikeouts in 31 innings along with a .165 opponents batting average.

“He just fills up the zone more times than not,” McMahon said. “He also has a fastball that goes down hill and mixes three pitches.”

The pitchers are aided by an infield “full of shortstops,” according to McMahon, with guys like Nelms, Gabe Lacy, Castor Lee and Beckett White all interchangeable depending on the situation and who’s pitching.

“We can mix and match,” he said. “Our third baseman is a shortstop, our shortstop is a shortstop and our second baseman is a shortstop.

“They all have come up as a shortstop for us. That helps when you can have three shortstops.”

Going streaking: The Admirals have not lost since March 10, a 4-0 decision to new No. 3 Ocean Springs.

Last week the Admirals swept No. 6 Biloxi (13-7) in a 3-2 victory where they scored early and held on late, and a come-from-behind 4-3 win.

“We can find a few different ways to win,” McMahon said. “Even if we’re not hitting, we’re keeping guys down.”

The victories were No. 9 and 10 in a current 12-game winning streak. McMahon said the team’s success hasn’t consumed his players.

“I don’t hear it (from the players). It’s not something we have to fight with our players at least,” he said. “We play game to game. I try not to talk about any streak whatsoever. We try to go day to day, game to game.

“That’s as much as we talk about it. Big picture, (the streak) really doesn’t matter and that’s what we try to emphasize to them. The next game is what matters.”

Looking ahead: The Admirals will have a good test this week with a home-and-home against No. 10 Harrison Central (11-9). The Red Rebels were slow out of the gate this season but have won five straight heading into Tuesday’s game at GHS.

“When Harrison Central plays Gulfport it doesn’t matter what your record is,” McMahon said. “They’re going to play and play hard and we just have to match their intensity.”

Sun Herald Baseball Top 10

Team (PTS)

Record

PVS

1. Gulfport (30)

19-1

1

2. West Harrison (27)

15-4

2

3. Ocean Springs (22)

12-8

4

4. Pearl River Central (21)

15-6

3

5. George County (19)

12-8-1

T5

T6. Biloxi (12)

13-7

T5

T6. Long Beach (12)

13-6

9

8. Vancleave (9)

12-7

8

9. St. Martin (7)

12-6

7

T10. East Central (2)

12-7

NR

T 10. Harrison Central (2)

11-9

NR

Dropped out: Bay (1; 11-6; T10), St. Stanislaus (1; 10-7; T10)

Sun Herald Softball Top 10

Team (PTS)

Record

PVS

1. Harrison Central (30)

15-3

1

2. St. Patrick (27)

13-2

2

3. Ocean Springs (24)

16-2

3

4. East Central (21)

17-4

4

T5. Picayune (16)

13-4-1

T7

T5. Pearl River Central (16)

14-4

RV

7. George County (12)

12-8

6

T8. Poplarville (7)

12-5

5

T8. Pass Christian (7)

10-3

T7

10. West Harrison (4)

13-7

T9

Dropped out: St. Martin (1; 10-8; T9)

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