By Gene Phelps/NEMS Daily Journal
JACKSON – West Union and East Union were fierce, yet friendly, rivals Friday afternoon in the MHSAA Class I state bowling championships.
Later Friday night, players from both teams bowled together back home in New Albany.
In the state competition, West Union knocked off East Union 3-0 in a Baker-style best-of-five final at Paradise Lanes to win its first state championship.
“We’re good friends,” said East Union sophomore Dustin Pratt, whose team was defending state champion. “I’m all for good sportsmanship. I’m happy for them.”
West Union senior Brandon Scott, who has experienced defeat twice in the state finals, said the victory eliminated a lot of the pressure he had felt.
“Today, we seemed more relaxed,” he said. “We felt like the underdog (to East Union) all season. Every day before practice, we’d say, ‘East Union.’
“We’re friends. Tonight, we’ll all be in New Albany bowling together.”
East Union defeated West Union by 151 pins in the qualifying – 3,499 to 3,348. However, in the Baker playoff, West Union, a 3-2 loser to East Union in last week’s North Mississippi regional, was the master.
“We fell behind 2-0 last week and didn’t have any momentum,” West Union coach Earl White said. “This week was just the opposite.”
East Union coach Brian Browning, who has directed the Urchins to three state titles, said, “We’ve been fortunate in Baker before, but today was somebody else’s day.”
Dalton Baggett, a junior, led West Union in qualifying with an 857 series and a 233 high game.
“This feels great,” Baggett said moments after winning the title. “I think we had a little more flow today.”
Pratt paced East Union with an 803 series and a 245 high game.
Pisgah edges Eagles
West Union pushed its rival, Pisgah, to five games in Baker play before losing 3-2 in the Class I girls finals.
Pisgah has beaten West Union in three of four state finals.
“We won North last week, but today we were second all day,” West Union coach Barbara White said. “We were right there. I’m pleased with second.”
Pisgah won the qualifying by 43 pins – 2,688 to 2,645. West Union rolled a 735 final game in the qualifying to edge Kossuth with a 2,572 score.
Jessica Clark had West Union’s high series with a 617 while Callie Baggett rolled a 193 for the high game.