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Prep baseball season coming down to final weeks

 

Scott Walters

 

 

The month of April typically means Twitter is over-run by prom photos and that graduation invitations pile up at the post office. 

 

It also means the end of the prep baseball regular season. In this state, baseball has one of the nation's shortest regular seasons before the start of a postseason that almost is as long as the regular season. 

 

With that being said, it is OK if you are little behind. The games have come fast and furious when the weather has allowed. 

 

Here is where we stand region by region with two weeks left for the state's public and private schools: 

 

The Mississippi High School Activities Association playoffs begin April 19, while the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools playoffs begin April 24. 

 

MHSAA Class 6A, Region 2: Oxford (16-5, 5-1) and Tupelo (16-4, 5-1) are on a collision course for the region title. 

 

The second of three series meetings is tonight at Oxford. Oxford beat Tupelo 4-1 Tuesday night in Tupelo. However, Oxford lost to South Panola earlier in the season. 

 

The final Tupelo-Oxford game is April 17 at Tupelo. 

 

Columbus will play a doubleheader today at South Panola. The Falcons must win both games to reach the playoffs. The Tigers can clinch the region's third playoff berth by winning once. 

 

MHSAA Class 6A, Region 3: Starkville continues to fight uphill in the state's toughest region. 

 

Madison Central (15-4, 6-1) owns a one-game lead over Northwest Rankin (14-4, 5-2) for first place. Both squads have beaten Starkville twice. 

 

Starkville (12-9, 1-4) can take a huge step toward nailing down the region's third spot by beating Murrah one more time. The Yellow Jackets beat the Mustangs 13-3 Tuesday. 

 

Starkville will play April 13 at Murrah and play host to Murrah on April 17. 

 

MHSAA Class 5A, Region 2: West Point has put together a strong season under Blake Hutchison. 

 

West Point (8-10, 3-2) is still starting several sophomores and juniors, but it has found a way to second place in the region with five games left. 

 

West Point picked up a 4-3 win over Lafayette on Tuesday night at home. Jake Chambless had the game-winning walk-off hit. Now, the Green Wave will try to go up two games in the series when they play Friday at Lafayette. 

 

Grenada (12-4, 5-1) leads the region. However, the Chargers and Green Wave have split the first two series meetings. West Point won 4-3 at home and Grenada won 5-1 at home. 

 

The third West Point-Grenada game will be April 13 at West Point. A victory against Lafayette could put West Point in position to steal the region title at the end. 

 

Saltillo (9-9, 3-3) is the current opposition for the No. 2 seed and home-field advantage in the first round. 

 

MHSAA Class 4A, Region 2: Caledonia is in a battle for one of the top four spots in this region. 

 

Amory (9-8, 6-1) leads the way, followed by Mooreville (10-8, 5-2), Caledonia (9-8, 4-3) and Pontotoc (14-5, 4-3). Caledonia and Pontotoc can lock up a playoff berth by winning one more time. Each has three region games left. 

 

Caledonia will wrap up its season series against Shannon on Friday at home. It won 11-1 Tuesday night at Shannon. 

 

Caledonia will play two games next week against Amory. 

 

MHSAA Class 4A, Region 4: New Hope has found Class 4A play to its liking. 

 

Coach Lee Boyd's squad is 16-4 and 5-0 in the region after a 12-0 win Tuesday at Leake Central. Those teams will play again Friday at New Hope. 

 

A win would clinch a first-round home-field advantage for New Hope. 

 

Leake Central (10-5, 5-2) is second in the region followed by Kosciusko (9-8, 4-2). 

 

New Hope will face Kosciusko twice next week. 

 

MHSAA Class 1A, Region 6: West Lowndes will try to take down region leader Vardaman tonight on the road. 

 

In the first meeting of the season series, Vardaman won 13-1 Tuesday night at West Lowndes. 

 

Two games next week against Okolona will determine West Lowndes' postseason fate. 

 

MAIS Class AAA, District 2: Starkville Academy and Heritage Academy have put together strong seasons under coaches Brooks Roberts and Justin Flake. 

 

In this five-team district, each school will play 12 district games. Only the top two teams make the playoffs, so every game matters. 

 

Starkville Academy beat Heritage Academy in two of three meetings to secure a potential tiebreaker. 

 

After Tuesday's doubleheader split against Winston Academy, Starkville Academy is 15-5 and 6-2 in district play. The season series will wrap up Friday at Volunteer Field. 

 

Heritage Academy (13-6, 3-2) will play host to Leake Academy tonight. The Patriots have clinched this series with 4-0 and 3-2 wins Tuesday night. 

 

Heritage Academy will face district rivals Canton Academy and Winston Academy, while Starkville Academy has a series against Canton Academy remaining. 

 

Victories at home tonight will send each team much closer to the playoffs. 

 

Scott Walters is a sports reporter for The Dispatch. He can be reached at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @dispatchscott.

 

Scott is sports copy editor and reporter

 

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