High School Sports

George County cashes in on Ocean Springs' mistakes

Kyle Whittington tries to get around on an outside pitch on Tuesday, May 19, in the 2015 MHSAA Baseball State Championship at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. On Monday, Whittington helped lead the Rebels to a big division win over Ocean Springs.
Kyle Whittington tries to get around on an outside pitch on Tuesday, May 19, in the 2015 MHSAA Baseball State Championship at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss. On Monday, Whittington helped lead the Rebels to a big division win over Ocean Springs.

OCEAN SPRINGS -- George County took advantage of six Greyhound errors -- including three in the fourth inning -- to slip past Ocean Springs 4-3 in a key Region 7-6A baseball game Monday.

With the win, the Rebels (9-4, 4-2) solidified their second-place standing behind undefeated D'Iberville (10-5, 6-0). Ocean Springs (10-6) drops to 2-4 in district play with two of their losses to the Rebels. St. Martin (5-15), which plays George County on Tuesday, is winless in six region games.

"It was a huge win for us," said George County coach Brandon Davis, who said the win puts the Rebels in the driver's seat for the second spot in the district. The top three teams in the district make the playoffs.

However, Davis said making the playoffs is still not assured.

"St. Martin is playing for their playoff lives," he said. "No one is out of the playoff race yet."

Trailing 3-2 in the top half of the fourth, the Rebels took advantage of three consecutive Greyhound infield errors to load the bases and then scored a walk and a wild pitch to take a 4-3 lead. West Whittington, Logan Tanner and Kyle Cochran each reached on a fielding error to load the bases for the Rebels. One out later Connor Dunlap walked to force in Whittington before Tanner scored on a wild pitch.

"In this type of game, whoever makes the least amount of mistakes usually wins," said Davis said. "We made just enough plays to win the game."

George County starter Trevor McDonald and closer Kyle Whittington pitched in trouble the entire game. Despite getting only four hits in the game, the Greyhounds had runners on base in every inning and, except for the fourth and fifth, constantly had at least two runners.

The Greyhounds, though, could not come through with the key hit, stranding 12 runners on base throughout the game, including eight runners in scoring position and three runners on third base.

In the seventh, for instance, Tate Pepper led off with a single. One out later Britt McKay walked to put runners on first and second. Kyle Whittington got the second out on a deep fly to center field before ending the game on a called strikeout on three straight pitches. Ocean Springs also ended its fifth and sixth innings with strikeouts with runners on second.

While the Greyhounds missed opportunities throughout the night, George County missed an opportunity in the first inning to blow the game open. Dunlap started the game ripping a single to right. Bryson Solomon was hit by a pitch before Walker Robbins loaded the bases with an infield single to short.

After a force at home left the bases loaded, the Greyhounds made their first two errors of the game. A misplay at first on Kyle Whittington's grounder and a misplay at short on West Whittington's grounder pushed two runs across. However, Greyhounds starter Cooper Brune was able to limit the damage starting a double play on a tapper back to the mound.

"I thought we should have scored more runs in the first," Davis said.

In the bottom of the first, McDonald struck out the first two batters he faced, but Brad Wall reached on a third-strike wild pitch. Josh Noblin then doubled and Wall scored on Drew Windham's sacrifice to center to cut the Rebels lead to 2-1.

Ocean Springs put two runs across in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead. One-out walks to McKay and Brent Culberson put runners on first and second. After a fielders' choice, Culberson scored when Brune's grounder went beneath the second-baseman's glove. Blake Sears, who reached on the fielder's choice, scored in front of Brad Walls' double.

McDonald threw the first four innings to pick up the win. He gave up two hits, three runs, one earned, but walked four batters and hit two Greyhounds. Kyle Whittington got the long save, pitching three scoreless innings despite allowing five baserunners, three by walk.

West Whittington also doubled for the Rebels.

Brune took the loss despite giving up only one earned run over six innings. He gave up four hits, walked two, and struck out eight batters. Wall was the only batter with multiple hits in the game, going 2-for-3 with a double, RBI and stolen base for the Greyhounds.

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