By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
Kossuth handed Belmont two losses this season, both one-run Division 1-3A losses.
In fact, it’s been four years since Belmont (26-4-1) has beaten the Aggies.
The two meet again tonight in Game 1 of their MHSAA Class 3A state semifinals series. The winner of the best-of-three advances to the state championship series.
Game 1 is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kossuth. Game 2 is at 7 tomorrow at Belmont and a third would be back at Kossuth at the same time Saturday.
“It could come down to small ball, little things,” Kossuth coach Daniel Threadgill said, “attention to detail. Both of us have to play flawless.”
Both teams are looking for their first trip to the state championship.
Pitching will be center stage all weekend, starting with Kossuth’s David Gibson and Tyler Nelms and Belmont’s Zack Carpenter and freshman Luke Alexander.
“They’re here for a reason,” Threadgill said. “They’re a good baseball team.”
Alexander and Phillip Armstrong have been the Cardinals’ top hitters in what coach Andy Deaton calls a competitive lineup with evenly distributed stats.
Kossuth (23-7) presents a solid-hitting and speedy top three to the order, the catalysts of the lineup, John Mitchell, eighth grader Jacob Wilcher and Heath Wood.
“They’ve had our number,” Deaton said. “We’re going to go over there looking for a chance to compete. Every game has come down to the sixth or seventh inning and they’ve come out on top. We’ve played some good teams and Kossuth stands out above.”
Four more area teams are still seeking state baseball championships. Tupelo Christian opens a three-game series tonight at Greenville St. Joe. Bruce is at Hatley is Class 2A and in Class 4A, Lafayette County visits Lewisburg.
“It comes down to pitching and defense,” Deaton said. “We’ve had some battles with them. Whoever makes the plays on defense has a good shot of coming out on top. You keep thinking with these one-run games, you’d have a turn. We’re just hoping for a shot and here we are.”