Copiah advances in AAAA baseball playoffs

The Copiah Academy Colonel baseball team (17-9-1) is back in the state semi-final series this week after sweeping the Presbyterian Christian Bobcats last week, winning 5-1 and 7-5.
On Tuesday at Copiah, Austin Ragland dominated the Bobcats on the mound, striking out 7, walking 4 and scattering 4 hits.  The Bobcats’ only run came in the top half of the first inning off a single, a double and a fielder’s choice to stake PCS to a 1-0 lead.
Copiah tied the game in the bottom of the first.  Will Lingle doubled with one out then scored on a passed ball with Brandt Jones at the plate three pitches later.  Jones walked, but failed to get past second base.
Copiah added 2 runs in the bottom of the third.  Jones reached on an error, one of six committed by the Bobcats.  Caston Granger doubled to put runners on second and third.  Jones scored on a passed ball three pitches later, while Granger took third.  Dylan Torrence’s single to left drove in Granger to put the Colonels up 3-1.
Copiah added 2 insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth.  Noah Chapa, running for Dalton Gaddy, scored on Austin Ragland’s double to left.  One batter later, Lingle’s ground ball was booted by the third baseman, driving in Ragland for a 5-1 lead.
Ragland got a strikeout, a fly out and a line-out to end the game.
Ragland, Lingle, Granger, Torrence, Zach Winstead and Ladarius Stovall all had hits for Copiah.  Ragland, Lingle and Torrence had one RBI each.  Copiah hitters walked twice and struck out twice.
On Thursday, the best–of-three series shifted to south Hattiesburg for a possible doubleheader.  The Colonels benefitted from another outstanding pitching performance, this time from Torrence, who picked up the complete game win.  Torrence allowed just 5 hits and 4 walks.  He struck out 1 and fought through 6 Colonel errors in the 7-5 Colonel win.
Copiah took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first.  Ragland singled to left to start the game.  Lingle reached via hit-by-pitch.  Two batters later, Granger singled to left, scoring Ragland.  A throwing error put Granger on second and Lingle on third. Torrence drove in Lingle when the shortstop booted his ground ball, putting the Colonels up 2-0.
PCS went up 3-2 in the bottom of the first.  A double by Owen drove in two runners with bases loaded.  Another run scored on a error.  Torrence got two ground-outs to end the threat.
Copiah tied it in the top of the fourth.  Winstead doubled to start the inning.  He advanced to second on an error by the catcher.  He stole third one pitch later, then scored on another error by the leftfielder on Stovall’s ground ball.
The Colonels took a three-run lead in the top of the fifth at 6-3.  Lingle walked and advanced to second on Jones’ sacrifice bunt.  Granger’s single to center pushed Lingle to third.  Lingle took home on the throw in, and Granger advanced to second.  Torrence reached on an error after Granger was gunned down trying to steal third.  Chapa replaced Torrence on the bases.  Winstead doubled to center, putting Chapa on third.  Chapa and Winstead scored on a single by Colton Meadows, staking Copiah to a three run cushion.
The Colonels added another run in the top of the sixth.  Ragland scored on Granger’s single to left, giving Copiah a 7-3 lead.
PCS staged a brief, mistake-aided comeback in the bottom of the seventh.  After a single by McGillis, the Colonels got a ground-out.  An error pushed McGillis across and put Braswell on first. A walk placed runners on first and second with one out.  Braswell scored on an error.  A popup to third baseman Lingle was caught for the third out to end the rally and earn a series win for Copiah.
Granger lead Copiah hitters with 3 hits and 2 RBIs.  Winstead and Meadows had 2 hits each.  Torrence, Lingle and Ragland hit safely once apiece.  Torrence and Meadows collected an RBI each.
The Colonels faced off with Madison-Ridgeland Academy, 28-3, (North No. 1) on Tuesday in Gallman.  Games 2 and 3, if needed, will be played at MRA on Thursday at 5 p.m. and 7 p.m.  The winner of the series will play in the AAAA Div. I championship series versus the winner of the Jackson Prep-Parklane semi-final.

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