By Brandon Speck and Blake Long/NEMS Daily Journal
PEARL – Kossuth would love to be at home Saturday with a Class 3A baseball championship. East Union would be thrilled to be right back here in Pearl for Game 3 of their 2A series.
The Aggies won Game 1 of their state championship series, 6-5 Thursday against traditional power Sumrall. Game 2 is today at 4:30 p.m. at Trustmark Park.
Kossuth coach Daniel Threadgill’s team technically shouldn’t be back in the finals for a second straight time, after the runner-up team lost seven starters.
“Technically we’re not supposed to be here. Don’t tell these guys that. Don’t tell this coaching staff that,” Threadgill said. “People can say we’re not supposed to be here. Our guys, we know we’re supposed to be here.”
East Union is down a game against Taylorsville. Game 2 is today at 10:30 a.m.
Three Urchins were here the last time East Union played for the championship, a series loss to Richton in 2007.
Senior catcher Alex Boland stepped onto the playing surface of Trustmark Park as a back-up catcher then.
“This dirt, where Brian McCann threw that guy out at second, I’m going to be back here one day,” Boland said he thought as a seventh-grader.
Boland joins Dustin Pratt and Tyler Hutcheson as the three remaining players from that team..
While today might be Boland’s last appearance in Pearl if the Urchins do not win, he doesn’t believe it will be the final time his teammates play here.
“We’ve said from the start – state-bound, state-bound, state-bound,” he said. “It’s drilled in their head. That’s all they know and nothing less.”
PITCHING AT A PREMIUM
Both North winners came to Pearl at a disadvantage.
Their opponents finished South finals series last week, while the Urchins and Aggies were forced by rain to play into Monday.
With pitchers limited to 17 innings per week, the two staffs have to be careful to avoid disqualification for overuse.
Kossuth ace Josh Whitaker has five innings to work with. Threadgill, though, said he won’t be starting today.
“I have five,” the senior said. “I’ve never had the chance to just throw a certain amount. We’ll see how it goes.”