By Blake Long/Special to Journal
It appeared as if Division 1-3A champion Kossuth’s 2012 season might suffer the same fate as their 2011 campaign did after losing Game 1 of their second round playoff series at home to Water Valley.
However, the Aggies still felt confident after falling behind a game to the team who eliminated them at the same point of the playoffs a year before.
“I knew we were going to come back and win,” Kossuth shortstop Heath Wood said. “We were all mad because we didn’t want to end the season like we did last year.”
The Aggies took their anger out on Water Valley, scoring 26 runs over the final two games to win the series. Kossuth then swept through the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds to find themselves in new territory.
Kossuth (24-6) faces Class 3A South champion Southeast Lauderdale (30-6) today in their first appearance in school history at the MHSAA Baseball State Championships. First pitch of Game 1 is set for 4 p.m. at Smith-Wills Stadium.
“That win at (Water Valley in Game 2) with their tradition set the tone for the rest of the playoffs,” Aggies coach Daniel Threadgill said. “I could see it in their eyes and I could feel it on the way back on the bus that night.”
Threadgill held high expectations for this team and season since his arrival at Kossuth three years ago.
“I just felt like the cards were setting up in our favor,” he said. “I’m not shocked and it doesn’t surprise me, but at the same time you’re at awe of what they’ve accomplished this year.”
Eight seniors have paved the path for the Aggies’ success. David Gibson and Tyler Nelms anchor a Kossuth pitching staff that gives up less than two earned runs per game. Nelms will start Game 1 today and Gibson will take the hill on Game 2 on Saturday.
Gibson also leads Kossuth at the plate with a .402 batting average and a team leading six home runs. Wood, another senior, is second on the team hitting .396.
Controlling the base paths is a key for Threadgill’s team against Southeast Lauderdale. The Tigers have stolen just under 100 bases, led by Dandy Dozen selection LeDarius Clark’s 29 steals. Clark also threw a two-hitter against St. Andrews on Monday to send the Tigers to Jackson.