High School Sports

Madison Central ends George County's 'fun run' in 6A title series

CHRIS TODD/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALD 
 George County's Walker Robbins (right) congratulates Madison Central winning pitcher Justin Milam on Thursday, May 19, 2016, in the MHSAA State Baseball Championships at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.
CHRIS TODD/SPECIAL TO THE SUN HERALD George County's Walker Robbins (right) congratulates Madison Central winning pitcher Justin Milam on Thursday, May 19, 2016, in the MHSAA State Baseball Championships at Trustmark Park in Pearl, Miss.

PEARL - The George County baseball team made an impressive run to the state title series for the second consecutive season, but the Rebels came up short again at Trustmark Park.

Madison Central topped George County 6-2 on Thursday to claim a two-game sweep in the Class 6A state title series. The Jaguars won game one 1-0 on Wednesday.

George County (21-9) didn't score in the series until pushing a pair of runs across in the top of the seventh inning, but the Rebels' rally fell well short.

Madison Central (27-10) seemed to make every possible play on defense and didn't commit a single error in the series.

"High school teams don't make plays like that two days in a row unless it's meant to be," George County coach Brandon Davis said. "It wasn't our time. We've got to be OK with that. It don't feel good. It feels like you might throw up. I feel like we're better than them, but on these two days we weren't. Hats off to them, they're coached really well and they played better than us."

George County senior Walker Robbins knocked in his team's first run of the game when he beat the first baseman to the bag on a grounder to the right side of the infield. The next man up, West Whittington, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to get another run across.

Bryson Solomon went down swinging with the bases loaded to end the game and the season for the Rebels.

The Madison Central players formed a dogpile in the middle of the infield and head coach Patrick Robey was doused with a bucket of ice during the post-game interview.

"I'm real proud of our kids, for our community," Robey said. "This is where our community expects to be. They expect to be here and our kids expect to be here. I'm glad to just be a small part of that."

Following Davis' post-game address to the Rebels, the players consoled each other with hugs as they lingered in the outfield.

It was an emotional goodbye for Robbins, who has already signed with Mississippi State and will likely be selected in the MLB Draft in June.

"It's been a fun run," Robbins said. "I had fun playing high school baseball. I hope everything goes alright from here on out.

"I've been playing with these guys since I was a little kid. It's tough seeing them go. I love them. They never stopped hollering for us. They never gave up on us. I'm glad for that. I wish them the best of luck."

Madison Central pushed five runs across, two on wild pitches, in the sixth inning to pull away for the series-clinching victory. All five runs in the inning were earned and credited to George County relief pitcher Kyle Whittington, who had allowed only one earned run all season entering the contest.

The Jaguars now have three state titles in their young history while George County is still seeking its second state title after winning in 1997.

"Nobody expected us to be back here," Davis said. "We're going to learn from it. It's good for the program. It's good to experience this. It hurts. Sometimes, life hurts.

"We'll move forward. Some guys will go on and keep playing. Some will get a regular life. We'll come back and try to do the best we can next year."

Whittington (5-1) took the loss, allowing five runs on four hits in four innings out of the bullpen. Starter Trevor McDonald gave up one run on two hits in 1 1/3 innings.

Justin Milam (7-0) went the distance to get the win for Madison Central. He gave up two runs on eight hits, striking out two and walking one.

After totaling just three hits in the Wednesday game, George County was much more productive at the plate on Thursday with eight hits. The big hit never came for the Rebels as they a total of nine men on base.

"We were one hit away," Robbins said. "We scored some runs. You have to give it to them. They were making every play. That's state championship baseball they were playing. It was a great game all the way around."

Robbins finished 2-for-3 at the plate with an RBI and Robbie Woody led Madison Central, going 2-for-4 with one RBI.

Robbins narrowly missed a grand slam in the seventh when his drive down the right field line barely went foul.

“I thought it hit the foul pole first,” Robbins said. “I heard it hit something and it looked like it hit the foul pole. If it would have went out, it would have been a great way to go out. We kept fighting. I wish we were able to pull it out.”

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