Fallon Groves drove in four runs and Samaya James out-slugged George County to win the Region 7-6A title Tuesday night.
“It’s huge,” said Ocean Springs Lindsay O’Brien, who added she did not know when the last time Ocean Springs won a district title. However, it’s been at least seven years since the Greyhounds (20-2, 5-0) won the district title. “I told the girls we need to enjoy it. They have worked hard for the title. I am really happy for the girls.”
The Greyhounds conclude their region schedule Wednesday against St. Martin in a pink cancer game honoring Courtney Hubbard and Sophia Meyers. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. The Greyhounds close their regular season Thursday against Gulfport.
With the loss, George County (14-9, 4-2) secures second place in the region.
To clinch the region title, however, Ocean Springs had to overcome a shaky start from starting pitcher Kylie Taylor, who walked two batters in the first and gave up infield singles to Megan Morse and Kaitlyn Passeau. Tori Havens lifted a flair that caught chalk just behind first base to drive in two runs and give the Rebels a 3-0 lead.
Rebels pitcher Brooklyn King got off to a good start, getting the first two Ocean Springs batters out on three pitches, but quickly lost the plate, walking the next three batters. Fallon tied the game with a double to centerfield before scoring on Jacey Fontenot’s single into left.
Taylor recovered to strike out nine Lady Rebels.
“(Taylor) is not the kind of pitcher to lose control,” O’Brien said. “Those type of innings only make her work harder.”
However, in the fourth, George County went back on the offense. With two outs, Brooklyn Tanner tripled. Megan Morse singled to drive Tanner in. After Brooke Welford reached on a hits batsman, Kaitlyn Passeau doubled to cut the Ocean Springs lead to 6-5.
In the bottom of the inning, Aeryn Tapp and Groves had back-to-back doubles to plate two Greyhounds runs and up the lead back to 8-6. The Greyhounds scored a single run in the fifth and two runs in the sixth to pull away from George County.
“Those doubles were game changers,” O’Brien said, noting they helped restore momentum to Ocean Springs.
Groves finished with a pair of doubles and four RBIs. James hit a solo home run to lead off the second inning and slapped a hard two-run triple in the sixth inning. Tapp was 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
The Greyhounds were aided by nine walks as Mikaila Fox walked three times and Taylor walked twice.
Passeau was 3-for-4 with a double and reached on an error as the Rebels connected for nine hits off Taylor. Morse added a pair of singles.
“They didn’t ever get down,” said Rebels coach Keith Essary. “They never quit. I think we hit (Taylor) well tonight.”
Essary noted the nine walks given up by his pitchers.
“That will kill you every time,” he said.
Taylor finished with nine strikeouts for Ocean Springs.