The McComb baseball team saw its season come to an end Saturday night with an 11-1 loss at Quitman in the first round of the MHSAA Class 4A playoffs.
It was the second loss in as many nights for the Tigers, who dropped the first game of the best-of-three series 11-5 at home Friday. The Panthers advanced to the second round and will play the winner of Monday’s Game 3 between Greene County and Poplarville.
McComb finished the season 9-10 overall, including 7-3 in 4A Region 6.
Quitman (17-11) took control of Saturday’s game in a hurry, jumping out to a 6-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Four of those runs scored following a two-out error, continuing the Tigers’ struggles with untimely mistakes. The Panthers added two, two and one run in their other three at-bats.
“We weren’t disciplined,” Tigers coach Braxton Reed said. “As the head coach, I put the blame on myself … but the next time around, we will be ready for it.”
McComb scored in the second inning but finished with one run on four hits across five frames against Panthers starter JC Robinson, who struck out eight batters and walked one. Senior Kilaryn Young went 2 for 2 to lead the Tigers’ offense.
Sophomore Jamarcus Pittman pitched all four innings for McComb, allowing six earned runs among 11 total. He scattered seven hits and three walks, but three defensive errors helped Quitman open up the big lead.
Reed’s team, after showing progress throughout the season, will bring back most of its pieces in 2023. The Tigers only had two seniors — Young at first base and Jeremiah Johnson at third — and saw multiple underclassmen step into leadership roles. McComb will enter next spring with plenty of promise, but has work to do as it seeks that long-elusive playoff series win.
“We need to be more disciplined. We’ve got to be more focused. The word ‘discipline’ is gonna stick with me all summer,” Reed said. “We have to be disciplined. We’ve got to be willing to do the small things — taking care of your home field, making sure stuff isn’t left out in the rain.
“So small things and discipline are gonna be a big part of what I preach this summer.”
North Pike falters at Newton County
The Jaguars took advantage of an early lead in Friday’s Game 1 against the Cougars, but fell apart in the middle innings on Saturday. Newton County scored six runs in the third and eight in the fourth to roll to an 18-5 win and force a winner-take-all game in Summit on Tuesday.
Five North Pike pitchers combined to allow 16 hits and 17 earned runs in four innings of work. Cougars leadoff man Gage Hollingsworth went 4 for 4 with a homer and three RBIs to lead an explosive attack that led 18-2 through four frames.
“There was nothing we could do. They hit everything we threw up there,” North Pike coach George Lott said. “The good thing about baseball is you generally don’t get 16 hits in a game — you don’t get 16 hits in slow-pitch softball. Hopefully they used up all their hits.”
The visiting Jaguars (16-8) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first, with Jake Martin’s RBI single plating the first run before two errors and a fielder’s choice allowed Martin to score. Lefty Jace Howell surrendered two runs in the first and two more in the second, giving Newton County (9-20) a 4-2 lead.
Everything unraveled in the bottom of the third. Howell walked the leadoff batter and exited for Ryan Weber, who allowed five consecutive hits with two outs and left the mound trailing 9-2. Hayden Lewis escaped the frame, but couldn’t keep the Cougars at bay in the fourth. North Pike brought in both Wade Weber and Dominic Smith before an eight-run outburst concluded.
Senior CJ McArthur drilled a two-run homer in the top of the fifth, capping off a 2 for 3 performance at the plate. North Pike added another run on Myles Foil’s sacrifice fly. Despite tallying only five hits in five innings as a group, there’s momentum to be taken from that final frame.
“We finished the game well. In the last inning, we scored three runs, hit a home run, hit the ball,” Lott said. “We’re loose. It is what it is.”
It’s the second straight season the Jaguars have lost a Game 2 at Newton County, doing the same in last year’s second round before prevailing in Game 3 at home. The teams were scheduled to play Monday, but following storms in the area, they'll instead reconvene for the decisive meeting at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.