By GENE PHELPS
Saltillo's baseball team didn't make a return trip to Vicksburg on Monday, thanks to a ruling by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
The Tigers were leading the Gators 5-1 Saturday in Game 2 of their Class 4A state baseball playoffs best-of-three series in Vicksburg when play was suspended in the top of the sixth inning because of rain.
MHSAA rules state that 41/2 innings constitutes a complete game, even in the state playoffs, Tigers coach Johnny Bolen said.
"It was a regulation game," said Bolen, who got a ruling from the MHSAA. "We really didn't want to make a four- or five-hour bus trip to play two innings, but we were ready if we had to."
Saltillo advances to a best-of-3 second-round series against Neshoba Central.
The opener is scheduled for 6 p.m. Thursday in Philadelphia. The second game is set for 6 Friday at Saltillo.
The third game, if necessary, would be played at 6 Saturday in Philadelphia.
Other high school baseball and softball playoff news:
n Also in Class 4A, Tishomingo County saw its baseball season end on a similar ruling.
The Braves trailed Ridgeland 2-0 in the fifth inning of their third game Saturday at Ridgeland when rain stopped play.
Ridgeland advanced to the second round where it will play West Lauderdale.
n The MHSAA fastpitch softball state semifinals are set for Thursday and Saturday.
Game 1 in the best-of-three series is Thursday while Games 2 and 3, if needed, would be played Saturday. The winners play the South champion May 1-2 in Ridgeland for the state championship.
In 1A, Smithville plays Houlka in the North final while East Webster takes on Bogue Chitto in the South.
In 2A, it's Hamilton against Hatley while in 3A, rivals Mooreville and Nettleton clash.
n Schedules, Page 2B