May 7, 2013 10:39:33 PM
YAZOO CITY -- New Hope High School kept its quest alive for a Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A baseball state championship Tuesday afternoon.
The Trojans knocked off Yazoo City 9-5 in the decisive game of a best-of-three first-round playoff series.
New Hope will now face Ridgeland in the North State semifinal round. That best-of-three series is tentatively set for Friday in Ridgeland, Saturday in New Hope and Monday in Ridgeland. Heavy rains are forecasted for later in the week and may alter the schedule.
Tuesday, New Hope put Yazoo City away rather quickly with six runs in the first inning. The Trojans did the same Sunday, scoring nine times in the first inning of a 12-2 victory, after dropping a 7-6 decision in the series opener.
"We played really well all the way around," New Hope coach Lee Boyd said. "Taylor Stafford threw a complete game. He was really a steadying force on the mound for us. Yazoo City is very under-rated as a ballclub. They have some guys who can play. This series was a big challenge and I am glad we battled back from down a game like that to win."
New Hope pounded out 13 hits in the victory, with each starter getting at least one.
Will Golsan and Wells Davis each had two doubles, Rooke Coleman had two singles, while Payton Lane had a single and double. Stafford added a triple, Tee Payne hit a double and Landon Boyd, Parker Earhart and Austin Oswalt each added singles.
"The good start was really important," Boyd said. "We came close to run ruling them. They hit a three-run home run late in the game to get back into it. I just thought we came out with a great amount of energy and did a good job of continuing what we did Sunday. We played well in each game of the series and hopefully that will carry over."
New Hope has collected 10 or more hits in four of its five playoff games. The Trojans are 4-1 in postseason play, as the Yazoo City series win came after a two-game sweep of Lake Cormorant in the play-in round.
"We have been hitting the ball really well in the playoffs," Boyd said. "It is not just a couple of guys either. Throughout the lineup, we have been very consistent.
"Hopefully, that will mean more confidence going into the next series, because right now we are getting contributions from top to bottom in the lineup."
Ridgeland advanced with a 12-9 win over Center Hill Tuesday night. The Titans won that series, 2-0.
"Ridgeland has played for the state championship in two of the past three years," Boyd said. "So, they are one of the ones always right there.
"They always go in as one of the favorites so we know we have to keep it up."
In the other North State semifinal matchup, Oxford will meet Hernando.
Hernando eliminated Neshoba Central with a 13-3, five-inning victory Tuesday night, while Oxford completed a series win against Starkville with a 3-1 victory Monday night.