High School Sports

George County 'fighting for our life' after game 1 loss to Madison Central

George County's Walker Robbins hits against Madison Central on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in the MHSAA State Baseball Championships at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.
George County's Walker Robbins hits against Madison Central on Wednesday, May 18, 2016, in the MHSAA State Baseball Championships at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.

PEARL - The George County baseball team is still looking for a way to break through at Trustmark Park.

Madison Central topped George County 1-0 on Wednesday in game one of the Class 6A state title series before a crowd evenly split between Rebel and Jaguar fans.

It marked the third consecutive game that George County has failed to score a run in the state finals after being swept, 4-0 and 9-0, by Oxford last season in the 5A state title series.

Robbie Woody's bloop single with two outs in the bottom of the fifth scored Lawson Stockett, who doubled with one out, to provide the lone run of the game for the Jaguars (26-10).

"They scored on a bloop hit to right field," George County coach Brandon Davis said. "Our second baseman (Kyle Whittington) falls down. If he doesn't fall down, it's 0-0.

"Walker Robbins did a great job on the mound. We tried to make a charge late like we all have all year, but we just came up short."

Madison Central sophomore right-hander Regi Grace (3-0) was strong on the mound, giving up only three hits. He struck out four and walked none as he retired the first 16 batters he faced.

George County (21-8) didn't record its first hit until Jathan Staton singled through the left side of the infield with one out in the bottom of the sixth.

"They pitched us in pretty well," Davis said. "That's probably the first time all year we've been pitched in. We caught the ball on the handle a little bit. Late in the game, we adjusted to it.

"After the second inning, we hit the ball really hard. They were just standing right there. Whether it was luck or they scouted us perfectly, we hit it right at them."

George County didn't truly threaten until the seventh inning when Connor Dunlap led off with a single to right field. After Robbins lined out to left for the first out, West Whittington singled to center to put men on first and second with one out.

The George County rally attempt ended when Bryson Solomon lined out to Madison Central first baseman Trace Tyre, who stepped on first for the double play to end the game.

Madison Central coach Patrick Robey said his pitcher followed the game plan well.

"We felt like just reading their swings, we could get in on some of them," Robey said. "Regi has pretty good zip on his fastball and he works downhill. When he stretches out there, he gets the ball on hitters pretty quick. I'm real proud of him."

Robbins, a Mississippi State signee, put in a another good showing for George County. He gave up one run on seven hits while striking out eight and walking one.

Robbins (8-3) works quickly on the pitcher's rubber and that contributed to a game that lasted only 1:23. The first three innings of the game lasted only 30 minutes.

"It was quick. Right when I came back in the dugout, I had to go right back to the mound," Robbins said. "I wish we could have got a couple of more hits in there. I give it to them, they were all hitting good."

Grace put together his best performance at the high school level in the biggest game he's played in.

"It was actually kind of an honor (going against Robbins)," Grace said. "I knew (Robbins) was going to be throwing and there would be a lot of people."

Stockett was the lone player with multiple hits in the game, going 3-for-3 with a run scored. Freshman right-hander Tanner McDonald (4-1, 2.53) will get the start for George County in Thursday's 7 p.m. game two at Trustmark Park. Kyle Whittington, a senior right-hander, is also likely to throw out of the bullpen.

"We're playing for our life tomorrow," Davis said. "If we lose, we're done. We're going to play with everything we've got to get to game three. In game three, anything can happen."

Madison Central will answer with senior right-hander Justin Milam, who is 6-0 with a 1.96 ERA.

George County is in search of its second state championship and first since 1997 while Madison Central is looking for state title No. 3.