Ocean Springs pitcher Garrett Crochet dominated St. Martin Thursday to lead the Greyhounds to a 4-0 win and the district title in Region 7-6A.
Crochet threw a one-hitter, with Nik Vollmuth ending the no-no with a solid single to center with one out in the fourth inning. Crochet also struck out 10. St. Martin was not able to get a baserunner past second the entire night as Crochet walked just three batters and hit two Yellow Jackets.
St. Martin (15-9, 5-5), which came into the game seeking its first district title since 2012 — which was also their last playoff appearance —finishes third following George County’s 7-3 win over D’Iberville. The Rebels (16-9-1, 6-4) finish second in the district.
George County will host a first-round series. St. Martin will travel in the first round while Ocean Springs (15-11, 7-3) receives a first-round bye and will host a second-round series.
“Our coaches did a great job preparing out team to get to this point,” said Ocean Springs coach Brian Rea. “I’m really proud of this team. We want to win championships here and any time you can win a championship, it’s huge.”
Rea said the Greyhounds came into this week knowing they had to win one of two games with St. Martin to clinch the district title. However, St. Martin beat the Greyhounds in Ocean Springs 3-1 Tuesday, giving the Yellow Jackets a chance to win the title.
“We wanted to do it at home, but St. Martin beat us Tuesday and we had to do it tonight on the road,” Rea said.
Although St. Martin coach Kary Bridges said he was disappointed with the loss, he was still happy his team was in the playoffs.
“That’s the first goal of the season,” he said. “You want to make the playoffs. Now, we have to get ready for the playoffs. None of my guys have ever been in it.”
Crochet stymied St. Martin all night long, retiring the lead-off batter in six of the seven innings, four times on strikeouts. R.J. Fletcher reached after getting hit in the sixth inning. Two outs later, Vollmuth was hit to put runners on first and second before Crochet got out of the inning with a bouncer back to the mound.
“It’s very important to get the first batter out,” Crochet said. “The first batter sets the tone for the inning. Getting him out keeps the other team from getting momentum.”
“You need to keep that first guy off base,” Rea said, saying that getting the leadoff batter out cuts the inning down from three outs to two outs. “The percentages show if you can keep the first guy off base, the percentages of the team scoring falls drastically.”
Although Crochet would walk three batters and hit two others, St. Martin would not be able to get a runner past second in the game.
“We just got beat,” Bridges said. “(Crochet) did a great job pitching. The game was about him.”
While Crochet kept St. Martin’s leadoff men off base, the Ocean Springs leadoff man reached base in four of the first five innings, scoring three times. In the second, Malcolm Beaugez started the inning with a single and went to third on Chance Goley’s double. It looked like St. Martin starter Leif Moore would get out of the inning, getting the next two batters out, but Max Horner singled up the middle to drive in Beaugez for the game’s first run.
Cooper Brune started the third with a solo home run as the Greyhounds pushed their lead to 2-0.
In the fourth, Horner reached on an infield single to second. Moore, again, worked hard to get out of trouble, retiring the next two Ocean Springs’ batters. Britt McKay, though, doubled to put runners on second and third. Crochet followed with a slow grounder to third for what should have been the third out. However, the throw was high, allowing Horner and McKay to score and pushing the Greyhounds lead to 4-0.
McKay paced Ocean Springs at the plate with a double and single. Horner, batting from the ninth-hole, reached all three times at the plate, twice on singles and once on a hit batter.