June 29, 2009
Jarrett Jenkins reaching and stealing bases. Stephen Joe driving in runs.
Those things have become a common sight for Ridgeland High School at the Dizzy Dean High School World Series.
After losing its first game of the World Series to Center Hill on Friday, Ridgeland has come back to win five-straight games, including beating Neshoba Central 13-2 in the semifinals Sunday.
"I can''t put it into words, but we fought," Jenkins said. "When we lost the first game, nobody thought we could come back and win. We overcame adversity."
The Titans celebrated making the championship game for the second-consecutive year at Columbus High School''s Sammy Fletcher Field. They seek to defend their title at 6 p.m. today against Kosciusko at New Hope High School.
"It''s a familiar setting from last year," Ridgeland coach Brian Rea said. "I''m really proud of our club. We came into this thing a little short-handed and had some players at the State Games like everybody did. It just came down to who was going to survive these few days. We basically had three starters in the lineup here on Friday and Saturday and I''m proud of those guys stepping up as junior varsity guys and we learned a lot about them. That''s why you come to these things at the end of the year. You find out about your younger players and the kids you''ve got to win with down the road."
Rea, the older brother of former Mississippi State player Jeffrey Rea, got to see those players again Sunday after jumping out to a 13-0 lead against Neshoba Central.
The Titans scored three runs in the first inning, but opened it up with seven runs in the second inning.
"Everybody''s pitching is thin at this point, but you''ve got to score," Rea said. "That''s what we did."
Of the 11 hits for Ridgeland, four were for extra bases. Hunter Lohman had a two-run homer in the second inning, while Hunter Twitty had two triples and Nick Johnson had a triple and single.
Joe, who was the Most Valuable Player in last year''s World Series, drove in a run with a single.
Joe was glad to see everyone involved.
"We came out and played like we should have," Joe said. "Everybody contributed and hit the ball."
Joe was the starting pitcher and he gave up two hits and struck out six in three innings.
The Rockets had four hits with Joel Sistrunk''s first-inning double being the only extra base hit.
n Ridgeland 8, Center Hill 6: Ridgeland got revenge against the team it lost to to open pool play.
It looked as if Center Hill was going to have another good day by scoring two runs in the first inning.
After a 45-minute weather delay, the Titans took a 3-2 lead in the third, then scored five more runs to expand the margin.
The Mustangs scored four runs in the seventh, but it wasn''t enough.
Twitty had two singles and a triple for Ridgeland, while Jenkins, Ricky Kennedy and Collin Carroll had two singles each.
For Center Hill, Cameron Dougher, Bill Higdon and Kyle Davis had a double each.
n Neshoba Central 10, Mantachie 3: The Rockets were out-hit 8-6, but still managed to open the day with a victory.
Neshoba Central scored three runs in the first and scored three more after Mantachie scored two runs in the first.
Austin Smith and Terrance Steele had two singles each for the Rockets.
Mantachie was led by Collin Minga with a double and single, while Gary Layman had a double.
n Columbus eliminated on Saturday: Columbus High School dropped its final two games of the Dizzy Dean World Series on Saturday, losing 6-3 to Wayne County and 11-4 to Pickens Academy of Carrollton, Ala.,
Despite the loss to Wayne County, Columbus pitcher Christian Dale only gave up one earned run and struck out three.
Josh Tetoni had three hits against Pickens Academy and batted a team-best .364 (4-of-11) for the four games of the World Series. Nick Durrah batted .308 (4-fo-13) and Dylan Patel hit .273 (3-of-11).