By Brandon Speck/NEMS Daily Journal
PEARL – The odds were stacked against Kossuth. The closer the Aggies got to the MHSAA Class 3A state baseball championship series, the more they stacked.
The Aggies lost more than the finals series last season, they lost seven starters from that team, 70 percent of the key pieces.
A week ago, Kossuth was down to three outs in an 18-inning North championship Game 3 at Independence, trailing by two runs in the seventh. Then the Aggies capitalized on an Independence miscue and gutted out a road win.
They entered the postseason barely over the .500 mark and then had to face four-time champ Sumrall.
Kossuth caught a few breaks – traditional power Sumrall with seven errors in a two-game sweep – but breaks teams have to catch to win baseball titles. But the Aggies made their own breaks as well, balancing a worn-down pitching rotation with a near no-hitter Friday in Game 2 from freshman Hunter Swindle.
Coach Daniel Threadgill said before a game in the Alcorn Central Tournament early this season that things were moving slower than he liked, but the pace picked up, a lot of it picked up by youth in the lineup.
“I had four ninth graders and an eighth grader in the lineup,” Threadgill said after Friday’s victory. “You tell me what the future is for this team.”
A freshman led the team in hitting, Jacob Wilcher well over .400. A freshman keyed a huge insurance run in Game 2, Reed Mitchell a double that came home for a 4-0 lead.
Then it was a senior fittingly closing it out with an iffy, but scoreless ninth to secure the school’s first-ever state baseball title.
Threadgill’s closing thoughts on Swindle sum up his team, too.
“Freshman. He is a freshman starting a championship game,” Threadgill said. He gave up one hit, one hit through seven innings. One hit. To Sumrall. I can’t speak enough for him. He’s got a bright future.”