By Brandon Speck
PEARL – Sumrall has won four MHSAA baseball championships under Larry Knight, four in five trips. That one slip-up? Kossuth is to blame, the Aggies beating the Bobcats last season.
“Not that we overlooked them, but they had been so used to coming up here and seeing our guys win two games and then go back,” Knight said. “It may have been like, ‘Hey this is gonna happen for us.’”
What happened was Kossuth winning its first baseball championship in its second appearance in the title series. The Aggies made their first trip two seasons ago.
With the playoff dust settled again, a rematch is on tap. Game 1 of the Class 3A best-of-three championship series at Trustmark Park is scheduled for today at 4 p.m.
Kossuth coach Trave Hopkins doesn’t think Sumrall will use revenge as a motivator.
“Everybody’s got the same thing on their mind right now. I’m guaranteeing that they’re more worried about winning this year than they are losing last year,” Hopkins said. “Once the game starts, none of that matters anymore.”
Both rosters are different, Sumrall’s more so. While Kossuth (21-11) brings seven starters back, Sumrall (25-7) lost six seniors, all but a handful of innings, four now playing either junior college baseball or football. Sumrall hits .346 as a team and junior Alex Knight has picked up the mound slack with an 8-2 record and 1.50 ERA.
Kossuth’s team average is up, but not as much as the stolen bases, which have more than doubled to 96. Jacob Wilcher has 20 of those.
This is another first in a way for Kossuth. Hopkins and assistant Kyle Nichols took over when Daniel Threadgill left after the champion-ship and took the head coaching job at Vancleave.
Kossuth didn’t only beat the Bobcats a year ago, the Aggies swept them. Knight said there are certainly no ill feelings, but …
“I’m sure our guys are happy that they get a chance to play Kossuth again,” Knight said. “We have a lot of respect for them, especially after what happened last year.”