HURLEY, MS (WLOX) - East Central head coach Bo Long and his Hornets are no longer flying under the radar, they have made their presence known... in position for a fifth South State Championship, the 3rd since 2008.
Long said,"Our older guys always really do a good job of setting an example for what the next group is suppose to do. How they are suppose to approach practice, games, workouts in the fall."
It takes solid pitching to win a championship.
Konner Pilkington is the Hornets ace. He's 8 and 2 on the mound, carries an impressive 1.15 ERA with 91 strikeouts.
Konner also tossed no-hitter this season.
"Just locating the baseball, just throwing the pitches that need to be pitched at the right time at the right batters,"stated Pilkington. "Knowing where to throw the ball and keeping the ball in the zone."
Eric Saksa has rung up 6 wins and 2 losses with a 1.64 earned run average with 50 strikeouts. He got the win Monday night to eliminate Pascagoula. He says practice has paid off.
Saksa said,"We got into a little rough spot, making a lot of errors and not hitting the ball. He added,"We started working on fundamentals, throwing, hitting ground balls, started hitting the ball off the tee and taking a lot of batting practice."
Brandon Conerly adds more talent on the mound. The junior has posted 5 wins and 1 loss with a 1.40 ERA.
Jake Garriga leads the Hornets with a .429 batting average.
Besides his pitching prowess, Konner Pilkington leads East Central with 22 runs batted in, he's one of six Hornets batting over .300.
Senior shortstop Justin Plummer says East Central's bumpy ride is no longer. They are now clicking on all cylinders.
"We made great progress, we come out here everyday in practice and work hard," Plummer stated. "Just got to keep working hard and keep progressing until we get there."
East Central has nothing but respect for West Jones, another high school baseball team that has a winning tradition.
Game two of the best-of-three 5A South State finals is set for 7:00 p.m. Friday at West Jones.