DeSoto Central High School provided more proof that it's an emerging baseball power in Class 6A.
The Jaguars topped George County 10-1 on Saturday to finish off a 2-1 series win over George County in the state title series at Trustmark Park. The victory clinched DeSoto Central's second state title in the last four years after winning its first in 2015.
After giving up a first-inning grand slam to Cameron Cotten in Game 1 to spark a 5-4 win for the Rebels, the DeSoto Central pitching staff handcuffed George County the rest of the series.
From the seventh inning of Game 1 to the end of Saturday's game, George County had just three hits over the span of 15 innings to close out the series.
“We relied a lot on our pitching this year,” George County coach Brandon Davis said. “We haven't seen a whole lot of off-speed and they throw a lot of off-speed pitches there. It's my fault for not getting them prepared well enough, but we've had a great year. The guys got here.”
The Jaguars (29-9) took Game 2 by the score of 5-1 and they kept the momentum rolling in Game 3.
Senior left-hander Hamp Houston picked up the win, giving up no earned runs on one hit in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked four.
“Our No. 1 goal was to play for each other and I couldn't be more proud of Hamp Houston and everything he's gone through this year,” DeSoto Central coach Mark Monaghan. “That kid buried his mom in March. For him to do this is special.”
Hamp's mother, Brittie Askew Houston, died at the age of 64 on March 12.
Third baseman Peyton Mills led the way at the plate for Desoto Central, finishing 3-for-4 with a triple and four RBIs.
Freshman right-hander Alan Williams received the start for George County and had some tough luck early in the contest. He gave up five runs on nine hits in 3 2/3 innings to take the loss.
George County appeared to be in good position to get out of the top of the first without giving up a run, but right fielder Trevor McDonald lost a high fly ball in the sun to allow Blaze Jordan to pick up a two-out double. Peyton Mills then tripled to bring Jordan home and Kyle Booker singled to knock in Mills, giving the Jaguars a 2-0 lead after after the top of the first.
George County's lone hit in the game was a double by leadoff man Ethan Coleman in the first at-bat of the game for the Rebels.
George County finished the season with a record of 27-6 and still in search of its first baseball state championship since 1997.
Wednesday's Game 1 win was George County's first victory in the state title round since '97, but that's little consolation for Davis, who was a player on the last championship team for the Rebels.
George County has been to the state title round in three of the last four years, but has yet to win a Gold Glove.
“It's tough,” Davis said. “You do all you can do to get them here. Once you get them here, you've got to dance with the one girl that brought you sometimes. We just have not been good enough to bring it home. We're going to keep working hard, keep fighting and maybe find what the missing ingredient is.
“What a great team. These seniors have been to the state title round in three of four years. That's an accomplishment for the school and community. It hurts a lot that you can't finish the job. As a coach, you really want to motivate them. I didn't do my job on doing that. We'll regroup and try to do it again next year.”