Gulfport and Tupelo are two evenly matched baseball teams having split the first two games in extra-innings in the Class 6A best-of-three championship finals.
The Golden Tornadoes(25-11) pulled out a 2-1 victory over the Admirals(33-6) in game one in eight innings. Gulfport came right back and pulled out a 4-3 win over Tupelo in the bottom of the ninth to even the series.
In the two games, Gulfport has produced 5 runs on 11 hits and four errors. Tupelo has scored 5 runs on 13 hits and 3 errors.
In game two Ethan Saucier doubled in the bottom of the night. On a Dylan Ladner grounder to third, Saucier would race from second to home plate when a high throw got away from the Tupelo first baseman and the Admirals would celebrate a thrilling nail biter to play another day.
The Admirals were back on the coast on Friday and got in a practice session before heading back to Pearl on Saturday morning. Saucier is still speechless after scoring the game winning run. The senior is looking forward to wrapping up the 2017 season with the 6A State Trophy in possession of Gulfport.
"It would mean a lot to me, "said Saucier. "It's been four years for me. I watched Oak Grove beat us and we beat them for the South State title. It would be nice to win-it-all."
Blake Johnson has enjoyed a banner junior season. He's an outstanding catcher and when he's not behind home plate, he's on the mound. Johnson developed into the Admirals ace.. He won't be able to pitch on Saturday since he tossed six innings in Thursday's win.
Johnson said, "We started off the season kind of hot." With a great start, Johnson believed that Gulfport had a chance to make a run at the state championship. "It kind of kept going and now we're here, "said Johnson.
Gulfport head coach Jamie McMahon knows pitching is always a key in winning championships and while he won't name a starter for Saturday's showdown, he says he has quality pitchers ready to get the job done.
"We've got two starters ready, "said McMahon. "Just like we were last week in South State against Oak Grove, it's going to be guys who run out there. Any sign of trouble, the next guy is coming in. Sign of trouble, the next guy will step up. We've got four or five guys ready to go. So, we feel good about that."
If the first two games are an indication of what fans can expect, get ready for another nail biter.
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