BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - The Biloxi Indians received another pitching gem from senior Blake Johnson. He kept the Petal Panthers off-balance and mostly off base by tossing a 2-hit shutout in the Indians 1-0 win Tuesday night in Biloxi in game one of the best-of-three Class 6A playoff series.
Lane Colson led off the bottom of the third inning with a sharply hit ball to the Panthers shortstop. The ball took a big bounce and ended up in left field.
Tyler Rock stepped up to the plate and laid down a perfect bunt, that got Colson to second base and into scoring position.
Trey Shaffer slapped a single in front of the Panthers left fielder. He couldn't make the catch and the ball got away. Biloxi head coach Kevin Burdine who was coaching third base, waved Colson to race home. That run proved crucial.
With one out in the top of the seventh, Petal got its second hit off Johnson when Bryce Fagan drove the ball past a diving Biloxi second baseman.
The home crowd got a little tense while the fans from Petal stood up hoping their Panthers could at least force a tie game.
Johnson would have none of that. He struck out the next batter for the second out in the inning.
The Panthers got the runner to second base on a steal. More tension.
However, Johnson got 6-0, 281 pound Petal catcher Thad Roberts to hit the ball to the Indians shortstop. It wasn't a great throw to first base, but Mason Berkowitz snapped the ball and tagged Roberts out before he could reach safely.
Biloxi picked up a big win at home 1-0 and improve to 20 and 11. Petal dropped to 21 and 10.
Game two is set for 7:00 p.m. Thursday at Petal.
The Gulfport Admirals were also involved in a close game with home standing Oak Grove Tuesday night. The 22 and 7 Warriors sent J.C. Keys to the mound and he was the difference for Oak Grove.
The Southern Miss signee tossed a no-hitter with 13 strikeouts and Oak Grove (23-7) was able to get two runs to pull out the win.
The Admirals (17-14) must bounce back under the win column Thursday night beginning at 6:00 in Gulfport to force a third and final deciding playoff game.
East Central also had a close encounter with West Jones in game one of the Hornets Class 5A best-of-three playoff series. East Central got the win 2-1 and will travel to West Jones Thursday night in an attempt to sweep the series. Hornets ace Konner Pilkington, a Mississippi State signee, posted his 7th win of the season against one loss.
George County and West Jones battled tooth and nail and the visiting Mustangs pulled out a 5-4 win over the Rebels. George County faces a must-win Thursday night at South Jones.
St. Stanislaus had their ace Greer Holston, an Ole Miss commitment, on the mound. The junior pitched another solid game keeping the Rockachaws close to Columbia.
The home standing Rockachaws would come up big in the bottom of the seventh with two outs. Ryan Pitalo laid down a perfect bunt and Noah Nicaud raced home with the winning run propelling St. Stanislaus to a 2-1 victory in game one of the Class 4A best-of-three playoff series.
Game two will be played 6:00 p.m. Thursday at Columbia.