High School Sports

George County to rely on stellar pitching vs. Madison Central in 6A series

AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD 
 George County right fielder Jathan Staton celebrates after safely sliding into home plate during the opening game of the Class 6A South State series on Thursday, May 12, 2016.
AMANDA McCOY/SUN HERALD George County right fielder Jathan Staton celebrates after safely sliding into home plate during the opening game of the Class 6A South State series on Thursday, May 12, 2016. SUN HERALD

A look at the numbers reveals an edge on the pitching mound for George County headed into the Class 6A state title series against Madison Central.

Game 1 of the series is set for 4 p.m. Wednesday at Trustmark Park in Pearl.

George County is seeking its second state title and first since 1997. Madison Central is looking for its third state championship after winning in 2002 and 2009.

Both squads feature impressive stats, but there are few teams in the state that can contend with the Rebels' pitching this season.

Senior left-hander Walker Robbins, a Mississippi State signee, has thrown two no-hitters this season. He is 8-1 with an 0.64 ERA in 12 appearances this season. He leads the Coast with 102 strikeouts and only 17 walks in 65 2/3 innings.

While Robbins' numbers have been impressive, senior right-hander Kyle Whittington has been every bit as dominant out of the bullpen for the Rebels (21-7). He has allowed only one earned run in 45 1/3 innings this season.

"He'll be closing every game we play," George County coach Brandon Davis said Tuesday of Whittington.

Whittington is 5-0 with a tiny ERA of 0.15 in 15 appearances.

Robbins will start game one of the title series and freshman Trevor McDonald (4-1, 2.53) will follow in game two.

What has made Whittington so effective out of the bullpen this season?

"I think he comes in after Walker and is just a change of pace," Davis said. "When he comes in behind Trevor, his breaking ball makes him effective."

Davis said that Whittington has seen a recent uptick in his velocity as he fully recovers from offseason surgery.

While George County will offer plenty of pitching talent, the Rebels' hurlers should be challenged against a strong Madison Central lineup.

Madison Central (25-10) has its own Mississippi State signee in senior shortstop Will Brooks, who is batting .336 with seven homers and 25 RBIs.

Senior infielder Trace Tyre, who has signed with Ole Miss, will also be a handful at the plate. He is batting .392 with three homers and 22 RBIs.

As a team, Madison Central is hitting .331. George County has improved its batting lately and is hitting .310 as a team.

"They can swing it," Davis said of Madison Central. "They don't have a blazing fastball dominant pitcher, but they're consistent up and down the lineup and the pitchers like to throw strikes."

Madison Central has good depth on its pitching staff, but has mostly relied on three hurlers -- senior Justin Milam (6-0, 1.96), junior Noah Day (7-3, 3.00) and sophomores Hunter Haley (3-2, 2.48).

Game 2 is set for 7 p.m. at Trustmark Park on Thursday and Game 3, if necessary, will be played on Saturday at a time to be determined.

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