By Gene Phelps
PEARL – The secret to Smithville’s success this season is really no secret at all. It’s all about team, coach Steve Kerr says.
“We have no superstars,” he said. “We have a very consistent lineup, 1 through 9. We don’t have a dominant pitcher like everybody has.”
Kerr’s strategy when Smithville (27-8) plays Natchez Cathedral (23-6) at 10 a.m. today in Game 1 of the MHSAA Class 1A best-of-three championship series at Trustmark Park in Pearl involves the entire team.
His message to them will be: “Go out there, enjoy the moment … and give it everything you got.”
The Seminoles didn’t know their opponent until Monday night when Cathedral defeated Stringer 1-0 in Game 3 of their South state series.
The Seminoles rallied from a 1-0 deficit to win their North state series against Tupelo Christian Prep.
“Everybody’s doing their job,” Smithville pitcher/infielder Tyler Hood said. “Even the bench is doing their job to keep us going. We all work together as a team.”
Hood has an 8-2 pitching record with a 1.49 ERA. He’s also batting .419 with 33 RBI. The clean-up batter is shortstop Micah McCain, who’s batting .385 with four homers and 30 RBI. Outfielder Cole Williams has six homers and 35 RBI.
Also on the mound, Blake Comer is 6-1 with a 1.86 ERA while Drew Lann is 5-3 with a 2.21 ERA.
Cathedral looks to its one-two pitching punch of Thomas Garrity, who is 8-1 with a 1.17 ERA and a team-high 81 strikeouts, and Sam Parker, who is 8-2 with a 2.88 ERA.
Ty Brown, the Green Wave catcher, leads the team in hitting with a .375 average and 26 RBI.
“For the pitchers, it’s going to be who can locate,” Kerr said. “It’s who’s going to hit the ball, who’s going to make the errors, who’s going to make the plays. It comes down to baseball.”
Game 2 is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday. A Game 3, if needed, would be played Saturday.