Nick Brooks prepares to throw a pitch for the Jackets Tuesday. (Photo by Kim Murrell, SDN)
The Starkville High School baseball team is one game closer to reaching its first goal.
The Yellowjackets beat the Canton Tigers 11-1 in five innings Tuesday afternoon at Yellowjacket field to improve to 5-0 in Class 5A, Region 3, District 4 play.
"It puts us in the playoffs," SHS head coach Danny Carlisle said. "If we can win one more against Canton, we would have the tiebreaker on everybody. Being 5-0 in the division is extremely huge for us. It puts us in great shape for the playoffs."
The winner of the division gets a first-round bye in the playoffs and gets a chance to scout the team it will play in the second round.
"You get to go watch and your guys get rest," Carlisle said. "That's a huge advantage. Our first goal was to win the district and our second goal is to make it to Jackson."
The Jackets jumped out to an early 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Max Bartlett started the inning with a walk and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Nathan Pugh.
SHS added to that lead in the bottom of the second scoring five runs.
After the first two batters were retired, the Jackets had a two-out rally.
Victor Johnson started it off with a walk and scored when Daniel Murphree tripled to the right field corner.
Bartlett singled and drove in Jalen Campbell, who courtesy ran for Harper Day who reached on a wild pitch strikeout. Jordan Allgood was the last to score when he reached on an error by the second baseman and scored on a passed ball.
"That was huge," Carlisle said. "It's big to score runs with two outs. We didn't score enough. We had more opportunities. I didn't think we ran the bases well (Tuesday)."
Nick Brooks got the start on the mound for Starkville. He pitched all five innings only giving up three hits and one run. He struck out seven batters.
The Tigers finally put a run on the board in the top of the fifth inning. Marqueez Meeks singled and later scored on a fielder's choice by Kelvin Burns.
"I thought he had a solid outing," Carlisle said. "He didn't really pitch with a purpose. The purpose is to end the ballgame. In a district game, you have to go seven innings."
In the third inning, clouds put on a gloomy scene and the wind started blowing straight out of Yellowjacket Field.
Johnson used that wind and put it in the air. It sailed over the center field fence for a home run.
"He hit that thing a ton," Carlisle said of Johnson's homer. "It probably wouldn't have gone out with the wind. He hit that ball close to the deepest part of the park, out towards (the center field wall). He probably hit it 390. I was proud of Victor and proud for him."
The Jackets used a passed ball and error on the pitcher in the bottom of the fifth to end the game. Johnson was hit by a pitch and later scored. Day walked and courtesy runner Campbell scored on a failed pickoff attempt by the pitcher.
Starkville improved to 13-4 overall and will be back in action Thursday when it travels to Canton for a 3 p.m. first pitch.
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