The match-up is finally set for the Class 6A baseball state championship series with St. Martin and DeSoto Central set to do battle this week at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
While DeSoto Central will be considered the favorite as the defending state champion, St. Martin will have an edge when it comes to a rested pitching staff. The Yellow Jackets needed only two pitchers, Leif Moore and Leo Harris, to throw a total of 12 innings to beat Biloxi.
DeSoto Central, which has a staff ERA of 1.54, will have one full day of rest ahead of Wednesday’s 7 p.m. Game 1 after using four pitchers over the course of 21 innings in the series against Northwest Rankin.
Here’s a look at some the key notes for this week’s series:
DeSoto Central: The Jaguars went with three right-handers against Northwest Rankin — junior Cade Smith (9-1, 1.17), senior Colby Crocker (7-1, 3.00) and senior Kamren James (6-0, 1.60).
DeSoto Central has nine pitchers who have thrown in at least three games this season and the pitcher with the highest ERA in that group is Crocker at 3.00.
St. Martin: The Yellow Jackets have relied on a solid one-two punch with a pair of senior right-handers — Leif Moore (10-1, 0.90) and Leo Harris (6-4, 2.37). The two combined to hold Biloxi to two runs on five hits in 12 innings last week. Moore will start Game 1 and Harris will follow in Game 2.
While St. Martin doesn’t feature the pitching depth that DeSoto Central has, senior right-hander Brennen Study (3-0, 1.53), sophomore Landen Payne (1-0, 1.88) and junior Christian Thomas (3-0, 4.42) provide strong options to start a Game 3 or work out of the bullpen.
DeSoto Central: Third baseman Blaze Jordan is one of the top sophomores in the nation with the ability to hit it out of any ballpark. He has a .440 batting average, 10 homers and 44 RBIs.
James, a senior shortstop who has signed with Mississippi State, is hitting .408 with six homers and 28 RBIs.
St. Martin: Study, who is hitting .386 with three homers and 34 RBIs, has long served as the centerpiece of the St. Martin lineup as the three-hole hitter, but he’s received plenty of help this year. No player has been more clutch in the postseason than senior catcher R.J. Fletcher, who is hitting .395 with four homers and 44 RBIs as a two-hole hitter.
Harris, a shortstop and UAB signee, does a good job of getting on base in the leadoff spot. He is hitting .340 with 41 runs scored and 13 stolen bases.
Outfielder Dane Dutil has had a great freshman season at the plate, hitting .389 with three homers and 36 RBIs.
All games will be played at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Game 1 — 7 p.m., Wednesday
Game 2 — 4 p.m., Friday
Game 3 — TBA, Saturday (if necessary)
The games will be available on 96.9 FM in the Ocean Springs area and on 1580 AM through the TuneIn app. Just search 1580 AM online and there are plenty of free listening options.
Live video streams of games will be available at www.misshsaa.tv for those who subscribe to the NFHS Network. Game 2 and Game 3 of the series are set to be shown on the Bounce affiliate of WLOX on the Coast.