The Coast's baseball and softball teams got a glimpse of their true identities this past weekend.
After going through weeks of intrasquads and practices, and then playing short jamborees last weekend, the spring season officially kicked off with classic games over the weekend.
The top half of the Sun Herald's baseball and softball polls remained largely intact from the preseason rankings.
No. 1 Harrison Central (1-1), No. 2 West Harrison (1-1), No. 3 St. Martin (2-0), No. 4 East Central (2-0) and No. 5 St. Patrick (2-0) remained unchanged in the girls poll.
Ocean Springs (2-0) and Long Beach (1-1) tied at No. 6, with No. 8 Hancock (0-2), No. 9 Poplarville (2-0) and No. 10 George County (1-1) rounding out the rankings. Picayune (1-1) dropped out, while Biloxi (2-0) received consideration.
George County's baseball team (2-0) stayed on top while No. 2 Gulfport (2-0) edged ahead of No. 3 Ocean Springs (2-0). Harrison Central (1-1) slipped two spots to tie Long Beach (1-1) for fourth. No. 6 Biloxi (1-1) and No. 7 D'Iberville (1-0) each climbed a few spots, with No. 8 Pascagoula (0-2) sliding. St. Stanislaus (1-1) and East Central (0-2) also slipped, tying for ninth.
The Admirals had an offensive surge on the opening weekend, blasting Starkville 15-2 and Petal 7-2.
"I didn't expect it right out of the gate. I felt good about our lineup, but not quite like that," GHS coach Jamie McMahon said of the team's offensive outburst. "I think we got off to a hot start and they always say hitting is contagious. I think the other guys fed off the first couple at bats."
Travis McNett helped set the tone for the weekend, blasting the first pitch he saw on the season for a grand slam against Starkville.
"We just kind of kept rolling from there," McMahon said.
Alex and Patrick Nelms combined with Gage Clark on the mound to limit Petal and Starkville to just four runs. McMahon said he's anxious to see some other arms take the mound this week with the Admirals playing Bay, Poplarville, Vancleave, Silliman Institute (La.), South Jones and Seminary over the next five days.
"The main thing is getting some more arms out there to see how deep we are," McMahon said.
Lady Fighting Irish
Likewise, St. Patrick coach Tommy Castanedo said he felt his team answered some questions this week with wins over Hancock and Robertsdale (Ala.).
"I was really excited for our pitching staff," he said. "Everyone has put that question mark on us. They know we can hit and defend but pitching was the a question (to people outside the program)."
Sophomores Anna D'Aquilla and Morgan Redmond answered the call. D'Aquilla struck out 10 and scattered six hits in the complete game shutout of Hancock. Redmond then struck out four while allowing two runs in an 8-2 win over Robertsdale.
"Anna and Morgan showed folks this weekend they're going to do their job in the circle," Castanedo said. "Those two kids stepped up and put that question mark to rest."
Like Gulfport's baseball team, St. Patrick's softball program will know what it is after the next couple of weeks after playing Long Beach, Petal, Harrison Central, D'Iberville, Ocean Springs, Neshoba Central, St. Martin and George County.
"One thing we want to do is test our kids right out of the gate because we have some young ones who need to step up and play," Castanedo said. "We're going to get them some experience real fast."