D'IBERVILLE - Petal clipped D'Iberville 4-3 Friday night to take game one of the first-round Class 6A baseball playoff series.
The Warriors (11-11) will have to win at Petal (12-9) at 7 p.m. on Saturday to stay alive in the postseason.
It was a difficult loss for a D'Iberville team that was without its head coach, Cragin Gilbert. He left the team to be with his family while his sister is dealing with an illness.
Gilbert's return for Saturday's game seemed unlikely as of Friday night.
"The guys missed him and they're all praying for his sister," said Cooper Farris, a D'Iberville assistant and former Mississippi Gulf Coast CC head coach. "It's tough when you're in that situation."
Petal senior right-hander Tyler Barnes threw all seven innings for Petal to get the win, getting past a rough three-run third inning to throw his seventh consecutive complete game.
"He had a bad inning there, but he battled back," Petal coach Larry Watkins said. "I'm proud of him for the effort he gave us tonight."
Barnes (6-2) allowed three runs on eight hits, struck out two and walked four.
D'Iberville senior right-hander Andrew Bird proved to be the tough luck loser. He allowed four runs, none earned, on three hits. He struck out four and walked three.
"Andrew, he's been a workhorse all year," Farris said. "I'm sure his legs are getting out from under him a little bit. He's going to compete and keep going. He looked really good the first two innings. He looked unhittable."
Petal scored what proved to be the winning run with none out in the third as back-to-back mistakes proved costly for the Warriors.
Bird hit Barnes, who was leading off the inning, and the next man up, Blake Reid, put down a bunt in front of the plate. Catcher Chris Harris fielded the ball cleanly, but overthrew first base, allowing the Panthers to score and grab the lead for good at 4-3.
D'Iberville finished the game with three errors.
"They didn't have any earned runs tonight and that's what we talked about," Farris said. "That's been our Achilles' heel all year year. We've just been kicking it all year. It's a matter of guys not getting the job done."
Petal and D'Iberville both scored three runs in what was a sloppy third inning.
A D'Iberville error put the leadoff man, Braxton Miller, on to start the third inning for Petal. He was later brought home on an RBI single by Tanner Estill. Xavier Yancey added a sacrifice fly RBI and Jacob Hall came up with an RBI double to set the score 3-0 in favor of Petal headed into the bottom of the third.
Travis Bender and Nathan Yennie reached base to start the bottom of the third for D'Iberville and three-hole hitter Luther Woullard followed with a two-run double. Woullard later scored on a passed ball to tie the game at 3-3.
D'Iberville put multiple men on in both the fifth and sixth innings, but couldn't get the tying run across.
The fifth ended for D'Iberville on a 5-4-3 double play and Yennie grounded out with the bases loaded to end the sixth inning.
"It's always huge (to get the first win on the road)," Watkins said. "They've got a good ball team. I'm proud of my guys coming in here and getting this win tonight."
Woullard finished 3-for-4 at the plate with two RBIs.
Junior right-hander Taylor Gatwood (2-3, 1.85) will be the starting pitcher for Petal Saturday and D'Iberville will answer with sophomore right-hander Cameron Hill (2-1, 2.74).