BY JAMES BEASLEY
Copiah Academy has taken a 1-0 series lead over Centreville Academy in the third round of the MPSA AA playoffs after a 17-4 win in Centreville on Monday evening.
The Colonels scattered 8 hits over 7 innings and were aided by 7 Tiger errors. Leading 7-4 after three innings, Copiah scored 10 runs in the final four innings for the final margin of 17-4. Scotty Reese picked up the win for CA.
Copiah, 15-11, and Centreville, 12-17, tie up again Wednesday evening in Gallman beginning at 6 p.m.
Monday’s fairly easy game was one the Colonels needed after giving Colonel coaches and fans cardiac fits over the prior two against Trinity.
Trailing 1-0 in a best-of-three series, the Copiah Academy Colonels rallied from a 7-0 deficit to beat Trinity Episcopal 16-14 in Gallman, and then outslugged the Saints 14-12 in the finale to advance past the first round of the MPSA baseball playoffs for the first time in recent memory. Trinity 9, Copiah 4
The Trinity Saints broke a 4-4 tie with four runs in the bottom of the third inning and went on to beat Copiah Academy 9-4 in Natchez in the first game of the three-game series.
CA scored a pair of runs in the top of the 2nd as Trevor Blocker singled with one out, Russ Singleton followed with a single, and Ben Boone drove in both runners with a two-run single.
Copiah got two more runs in the third. Hunter Renfroe walked to lead off the inning, Bryce Guess reached on an error, and Phillip Douglas singled to load the bases. One run scored when Blocker walked, and the other came home as B.J. Newman hit into a fielder’s choice.
Blocker was the losing pitcher for the Colonels, who managed only six hits while committing seven errors.
Copiah 16, Trinity 14 (8 innings)
Trailing 7-0, the Copiah Academy Colonels erupted for 8 runs in the bottom of the 4th inning and eventually whipped the Trinity Saints 16-14 on Bryce Guess’ walk-off homer in the bottom of the 8th .
Senior Phillip Douglas leadoff single ignited the fourth-inning rally. Trevor Blocker walked, and Mitch Little singled to load the bases. One run scored as Dustin Merchant reached on an error, another run scored when Russ Singleton was hit by a pitch, Ben Boone singled home a pair of runs, and Hunter Renfroe followed with an RBI-single. Scotty Reese’s 3-run homer capped the comeback and put the Colonels ahead 8-7.
After Trinity tied the game with a run in the top of the 6th, CA responded with an unearned run in the bottom of the inning on a two-out walk, a batter reaching base on a dropped third strike, and two Saints errors.
Trinity took a 11-9 lead with three runs in the top of the seventh, but CA tied the game again by scoring a pair of runs with two outs in the bottom of the inning. Boone singled, Renfroe was hit by a pitch, and Reese reached on an error to load the bases. One run scored when Guess was hit by a pitch, and the tying run came home on a bases-loaded walk to Douglas.
The Saints scored three more runs in the top of the 8th to take a 14-11 lead, but the never-say-die Colonels rallied again. Little led off the bottom of the inning with a a double, Merchant walked, Singleton singled, and Boone followed with a two-run single. The tying run came home as Renfroe hit into a fielder’s choice, setting the stage for Guess’ game-winning homer over the center field wall, evening the series 1-1 and sending CA back to Natchez for game three.
Scotty Reese, 5-4, was the winning pitcher. Boone led the Colonels with 4 hits, followed by Little with 3 hits, and Singleton with 2 hits.
Copiah 14, Trinity 12
The Copiah Academy Colonels tagged Trinity pitchers for 11 runs in the top of the second and hung on for a 14-12 win in the deciding game of a 3-game playoff series at Natchez last Friday.
CA scored twice in the top of the 1st on a pair of walks and a series of fielder’s choices. After the Saints tied the score with two runs in the bottom of the inning, the Colonels opened the pivotal second with 7 straight hits.
Russ Singleton and Ben Boone singled, and Hunter Renfroe and Scotty Reese followed with RBI-singles. After Bryce Guess’ single reloaded the bases, Phillip Douglas blasted a grand-slam home run. But CA wasn’t through. Matthew Wright walked, Mitch Little was hit by a pitch, and Dustin Merchant singled to load the bases. After the runner on third was out at home on a fielder’s choice, Boone was hit by a pitch to force in a run. A Saint error plated another run, two more scored on Reese’s bases-loaded single, and the final run came home on Guess’ sacrifice fly.
Copiah scored its final run in the top of the 4th on Guess’ two-out RBI-double that bounced off the center field wall 395 feet from home plate. Matthew Wright, 3-2, picked up the win, while Scotty Reese came on in relief to earn a save.
“They say that good teams all have big hearts,” said CA first-year coach Scooter Prince. “Our guys have had big hearts all year. They play together as a team, get along well with each other, and are probably batting about .330 on offense.”
Prince was especially high on his three seniors: Dustin Merchant, Phillip Douglas, and Matthew Wright. According to him, they have all made valuable contributions to the team’s success this season. As a result, the Colonels have gone farther this year than ever before – and they’re not done yet.