High School Sports

George County, St. Patrick remain entrenched atop Sun Herald Top 10

JAMES EDWARD BATES/SUN HERALD 
 St. Patrick softball coach Tommy Castanedo
JAMES EDWARD BATES/SUN HERALD St. Patrick softball coach Tommy Castanedo

Plenty of Coast teams played catchup last week, making up for rain outs.

No team hit the field more than No. 1 St. Patrick. The Lady Fighting Irish softball team improved to 20-0 after winning all eight games by a 96-6 margin.

"The biggest thing I'm proud of is our two sophomore pitchers," St. Patrick coach Tommy Castanedo said of Morgan Redmond and Anna D'Aquilla. "They threw a lot of innings this week. They're the reason we're at where we're at today."

Heading into the week, Redmond is 9-0 with a 1.84 ERA and 45 strikeouts against 13 walks in 38 innings. D'Aquilla is 11-0 with a 1.38 ERA and 80 strikeouts against seven walks in 66 innings.

"They're pitching their tails off and keeping us in ball games," Castanedo said.

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St. Patrick hasn't posted an undefeated season during Castanedo's tenure. Could this be the year?

"It hasn't even been mentioned with our kids," he said. "The one thing we've tried to focus on all year was we're all focused on one game at a time, one pitch at a time, one at-bat at a time."

St. Patrick has five regular season games remaining before the Class 3A playoffs kick off.

Softball rankings

No. 2 Harrison Central (13-3) stayed put this week, as did East Central (12-5-1) and Poplarville (11-3), which are deadlocked in third. St. Martin (9-6) slipped to five and West Harrison (10-10) stayed in sixth. No. 7 Pearl River Central (12-5-1) and No. 8 Hancock (9-10) flipped spots, while Ocean Springs (10-7-1) and Long Beach (9-8) tied at ninth.

Baseball

There perhaps hasn't been a more sweet swingin' squad on the Coast this season than the West Harrison Hurricanes (18-3). Up one spot in this week's Sun Herald rankings to No. 3, the 'Canes have been a model in consistency this season with a .305 team batting average that's second among ranked teams (behind East Central at .306).

West Harrison has five regulars are hitting above .300 -- Kasey Donaldson, .433; Tate Parker, .406; Brandon Parker, .385; Hunter Simmons, .333; and Tyler Van Norman, .325 -- and a couple more just south of that number.

"We send them up there with the approach to hit fastballs," WHHS coach David Marsland said. "Hit them early and try to stay out of pitcher's counts.

"We spend most of our time hitting fastballs. We teach them that when they see a fastball in the zone, don't take it, attack it."

West Harrison's pitching staff has also done a superb job. The 'Canes may not have guys with an abundance of swing-and-miss ability like Jacques Pucheu and Dustin Ware this season, but they're getting it done as a staff. Seven pitchers have taken the mound for WHHS this season with a 2.03 ERA.

"What we've done with that pitching is we have pieced it together. We have five complete games out of 21, so that means we're throwing two and three guys a game," Marsland said. "That's compared to last year, when we could rely on either one of them going 7. It's different guys.

"It's a whole staff effort. When one guy starts to lose it a little bit, we're totally confident in bringing in another guy -- whether it's from the field or out of the bullpen."

This week's baseball poll features two new teams from a week ago in No. 9 Vancleave (12-9) and No. 10 Biloxi (13-9).

George County (11-6) stayed on top, with No. 2 Ocean Springs (13-7) and No. 3 West Harrison leapfrogging No. 4 Gulfport (12-8). D'Iberville (11-7) and St. Patrick (11-3) are tied at No. 5 this week with No. 7 Harrison Central (10-8) staying the same and No. 8 East Central (10-6) climbing a spot.

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