The West seniors scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning to take a 7-6 lead and held off the East seniors the rest of the way in the 29th Annual South Mississippi All-Star Classic at West Harrison on Thursday.
West Harrison’s Cade Simon got the West going in the fifth with a double to deep centerfield. Bay High’s Gage Kiser singled and scored Simon. Long Beach’s Darren Cook followed with a base on balls, and St. Stanislaus’ Magruder O’Bannon loaded the bases on a hit ball.
Gulfport’s Max Barnes drove in a run on an infield hit, and Pass Christian’s Chris Piernas drove in another run to pull within one of the lead with the bases still loaded.
Down 6-5 with two outs and the bases loaded, Harrison Central’s Cody Palmer looped a 2-2 pitch over the shortstop, driving in two runs, giving the West its first lead and the eventual game-winner.
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Cook held off four batters in the top of the sixth inning and V.J. Swanier retired three batters in the seventh to close out the win for the West.
“I think the boys did good. They didn’t give up,” Long Beach coach Anthony VanCourt said. “They made some plays toward the end of the game when they needed to. We eventually got some base runners, which we had trouble with.
“I think that double put a little pressure on them,” added VanCourt. “We got some guys with speed, which also made their defense have to rush a little.
“A lot of these guys are going to go on to play at junior colleges. For some of these guys, this will be the last time they step on a high school field,” said VanCourt. “This will be the last time they wear their high school jerseys. A lot of these kids know each other from summer ball and youth ball, so they have a good time. I think they had a good time today.”
Simon helped pace the West on his home field.
“I got a good hit, and I felt we got something started,” he said of the two-out double. “I am glad that happened.”
The East got on the board early, scoring four runs in the top of the first inning. They added two more runs in the fourth to close out their scoring.
The West scored a run in the third and another in the fourth.