Area could have six-pack of baseball finalists

By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal

Tupelo, Oxford and Falkner all play today for a berth in this week’s MHSAA state baseball tournament.
If the Golden Wave (6A), Chargers (5A) and Eagles (1A) win, Northeast Mississippi will have a team playing for a state championship in all six classifications.
“I think that says a lot,” said Mantachie coach Scott Collier, whose team has qualified for the finals in Class 2A. “We play good baseball up here and we love our baseball.”
The trio would join Mantachie, North Pontotoc (4A) and Mooreville (3A) at the state tournament, which is scheduled to be played Tuesday through Saturday at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson and the Mississippi Braves’ Trustmark Park in Pearl.
The opening-round games in each series will be played at Smith-Wills on Tuesday and Wednesday. The remainder of the tournament will be played in Pearl.
Tupelo (29-4) travels to Madison Central (31-2) today for a 6 p.m. third game of their best-of-three state semifinals 6A series.
Tupelo missed a chance to clinch on Saturday at home.
In Class 5A, Oxford (19-11) plays at 6 at Ridgeland in Game 3 of their North series. The home team won the first two games in the series.
In 1A, Falkner (17-15) plays at 6 at Greenville St. Joe in Game 3 of their North state series.
The visiting team won the first two games in that series.
More, more, more
North Pontotoc (28-5) and Mantachie (21-6) are making their first trips to the state championship series.
The Vikings play Columbia at 4 p.m. Wednesday in their 4A series opener while the Mustangs take on Taylorsville at 1 p.m. Wednesday in their 2A opener.
Mooreville (22-11), on the other hand, won eight state championships under former coach Rex Berryman, the last in 2005.
This year’s Troopers are coached by former Mooreville standout Jamie Russell. They may have drawn the tournament’s toughest assignment, playing defending state champion Sumrall at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
Softball games set
Four Northeast Mississippi fastpitch softball teams, including defending state champions North Pontotoc (4A) and Nettleton (3A), will play best-of-three championship series Friday and Saturday in Ridgeland at Freedom Ridge Park.
East Webster (2A), its school destroyed recently by a tornado, and West Union (1A), have also qualified.
All four teams clinched their trips with victories on Saturday.
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