High School Sports

Parity reigns supreme among Coast's 6A baseball teams

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 Biloxi and D'Iberville meet for the first high school baseball game played at MGM Park on Friday, March 4, 2016, in Biloxi.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD Biloxi and D'Iberville meet for the first high school baseball game played at MGM Park on Friday, March 4, 2016, in Biloxi. SUN HERALD

The D'Iberville baseball team can just cruise into the playoffs now, right?

As owners of the only 4-0 regional record among South Mississippi's Class 6A baseball teams, the Warriors are sitting pretty.

But, as DHS coach Cragin Gilbert said Monday, there's plenty of work to be done.

Four games into their region schedules, the eight teams are doing a good job of beating up on one another.

With the exception of the Warriors' 4-0 start against "the other side" -- 7-6A and 8-6A play each other once before playing home-and-home against their own sides -- pretty much everyone else was jumbled up at 2-2 heading into Tuesday night's slate of games.

So who comes out on top?

Good luck predicting the champs.

"That's why you have to play the games," Gilbert said. "We're in a good position, but we still have to play our side. All along the Coast you're seeing a lot of good baseball.

"I think it's at a very high level right now. It seems like every Tuesday and Friday, everybody is seeing everybody's best."

Heading into Tuesday night's games, DHS led 7-6A with a 4-0 mark, followed by Ocean Springs (2-2), George County (2-2) and St. Martin (0-4).

Things are much more murky in 8-6A, where Harrison Central, Hancock, Gulfport and Biloxi are all 2-2 after having played the other side.

"This is my fifth year (at Gulfport) and I've seen it all five years," GHS coach Jamie McMahon said. "On any night, anybody can beat anybody."

To recap the 8-6A results: HCHS beat Ocean Springs 1-0 and St. Martin 4-2; HHS defeated St. Martin 20-5 and George County 5-4 in nine innings; BHS holds wins over Ocean Springs (7-1) and St. Martin (7-2); GHS topped St. Martin 4-3 and George County 2-0. In 7-6A: DHS holds wins over Gulfport (3-2), Harrison Central (8-4), Hancock (4-2) and Biloxi (7-4); OSHS bested Hancock 3-0 and Gulfport 12-2; and GCHS holds victories over Harrison Central (2-1) and Biloxi (16-8).

"We have some good baseball players down here. It's tough," said Brandon Davis, who coached at Richton before arriving at George County. "The lineups are deep. There's not an easy out where you can just feed 'em fastballs."

While there's parity among South Mississippi's 6A programs, there's plenty of talent that could lead to prolonged post-seasons.

Saturday's 6A slate of games at MGM Park was a good glimpse at two potential post-season matchups. Oak Grove entered Saturday undefeated and considered the top team in Mississippi not from Oxford. The Warriors left the Coast with a 6-5 loss to Gulfport and a 6-0 defeat to Ocean Springs.

"Anytime you compete and have a chance to beat a team like Oak Grove that is so dominant, it's a great confidence booster," OSHS coach Brian Rea said. "It wasn't a region game or a playoff game, so in the grand scheme of things it doesn't affect either one of us, but it's a good win."

There's still some non-region games sprinkled into the remaining three weeks of the regular season, but for the most part teams will be jockeying for position with region foes through the duration of the regular season.

"It's really a survival. It really is," Rea said. "But that's 6A baseball. It's like the SEC."

Who comes out on top is anyone's guess.

Patrick Ochs, a Sun Herald sports reporter, can be reached at pochs@sunherald.com or followed on Twitter at PatrickOchs.

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