MHSAA NOTEBOOK: Minga absent in late innings for Mustangs

By Blake Long and John Wilbert/NEMS Daily Journal

PEARL – If the going gets tough for Mantachie the past month, you could usually depend on seeing ace Collin Minga in the late innings to seal a Mustang victory.
However, with Mantachie holding a 2-1 lead going to the bottom of the 8th, Mustangs coach Scott Collier opted to stay with starter Matthew Prochaska instead of going to his ace, who likely would have pitched Game 3 if the series was extended.
“I didn’t (think about bringing Minga in),” Collier said. “Prochaska was pitching well.
“And in Game 1, Collin went 120 pitches. We have rode Collin all year long and I just didn’t want to hurt his arm.”
Minga, who suffered the loss in Game 1, has signed to play baseball at Itawamba Community College next season.
“Matthew had been throwing a heckuva game,” Minga said. “He had been throwing well, and there was no doubt in my mind that he was going to finish it.”
Added Minga, “We were trying to win this one (Game 2); we hadn’t even thought about the third one.”

A surprise go
After saying the night before that he wasn’t going to play in Friday’s Game 2, Mantachie senior Zack McCoy surprisingly – well, maybe not to him – played in Game 2.
McCoy had badly sprained his left ankle after making contact with the first-base bag at Smith-Wills Stadium while running out a grounder in Wednesday’s Game 1.
“I knew I was going to play. I was going to play no matter what,” said McCoy, who was in the Mustangs’ lineup as the designated hitter instead of at his normal position, shortstop.
“It’s feeling better,” said McCoy, who had been on crutches. “I iced it … I did everything.”
McCoy broke up Taylorsville pitcher Mason Woodrow’s no-hit bid with one out in the sixth inning. He lined a 2-2 hanging curveball into center field for a base hit.

NeMiss ties in 5A
Though no Northeast Mississippi team played in the Class 5A Championship series this season, the game still had ties to the area.
Ridgeland coach Brian Rea was the head coach at Corinth from 2005-06, while Long Beach assistant principal Tim Holland was a former Iuka High School standout from 1985-87.
Ridgeland downed Long Beach in two games by scores of 6-0 and 1-0 to win its first state baseball championship in school history.