Mississippi State signee Walker Robbins throws no-hitter
LUCEDALE -- Walker Robbins picked a good night to shine.
The strong-armed southpaw is used to dominating on the mound, but Friday night there was a bit more at stake.
One game behind D'Iberville in the Region 7-6A standings with two left to play, the Mississippi State signee tossed a gem, striking out 11 in a 1-0 no-hitter over the Warriors.
The Rebels (13-6, 8-2) beat D'Iberville 3-2 on Saturday to win the Region 7-6A title.
The no-no marked his second this season. Earlier this year he tossed a perfect game against Greene County after picking up a save earlier in the evening on a rain-delayed game against the Wildcats.
"I felt great. My arm didn't give me no problems. I was just glad to keep going," said Robbins, who also walked two Friday. "The fastball, my two-seam, was (working). I was throwing it away and then I'd bring that changeup in there and my curveball was on tonight."
Early on Friday, Robbins struggled a bit to find the umpire's strike zone, walking batters in the first and third. But as the game went on, he locked in. In both the fifth and sixth innings, with the exception of an error behind him, Robbins struck out the side.
"He was trying to find the strike zone. He likes to work on that outside edge really good and the umpire wasn't giving it to him a lot - either way," GCHS coach Brandon Davis said. "In years past I've seen him let that affect him, but you could see he grew up on the mound and really let his changeup and offspeed work for him. And then when he had to reach back, he just reached back and threw it by them.
"That's what he's supposed to do."
There was also a moment of levity in the sixth inning when Robbins prematurely thought he struck out the final batter of the inning and started to run off the mound toward the dugout. The fans quickly let him know the count was only 2-2. With a smirk, Robbins trotted back to the mound. After Nathan Yennie fouled back the next pitch, the 6-foot-3 Rebel reared back and blew the next pitch past the Warrior second baseman.
"That's just Walker," Davis laughed. "You just shake your head and smile. He doesn't let a whole lot get to him. He's a good teammate. He really is."
The Rebels scored the game's lone run in the first inning. After Robbins doubled to left-center, catcher West Whittingham singled up the middle to score courtesy runner Kyle Estes.
"It would have been nice to score a couple of more but I'm glad we got that one," Robbins said. "It's all we needed I guess."
The win marked George County's ninth in 13 one-run games this season.
Luckily for the Rebels, they had a potential high draft pick on the mound.
Overshadowed on the night was sophomore Cameron Hill, who made his first region start for the Warriors. The young right-hander remained composed even after surrendering the run in the first, scattering seven hits and an intentional walk over seven innings.
"He has shown a lot of promise throwing three pitches and showed a lot of composure tonight against a very good George County team," DHS coach Cragin Gilbert said. "He only threw 81 pitches through six innings, so I was very proud of his performance and on this stage."
Although the Warriors were unable to clinch Friday night, Gilbert said his team is undeterred heading into Saturday's showdown.
"You talk about if somebody said, 'you have one game to win district, would you take it?' And every one of them said yeah," Gilbert said. "I think it's going to be a heckuva game, just like this, and I wouldn't have it any other way facing Brandon (Davis)."
The Warriors will turn to ace Andrew Bird (5-1, 1.07 ERA). The Rebels will counter with freshman Trevor McDonald (2-1, 2.78).
"I told our guys we're going to go in there and give it everything we've got," Davis said. "We're going to throw it all at (Bird). If we can do that, win, lose or draw, I'm excited about it because looking toward the playoffs that's the type atmosphere you're going to have to win in."