Picayune Claims 4A State Baseball Title With 5-3 Win Over New Hope



Before a standing room crowd of 17-hundred New Hope struck first. Lance Martin's single drove home the games first run in the top of the first. Justin Carter plated the Trojans second run in the inning with a deep fly ball to left field.

The Maroon Tide got one run back when Richard Imhoff singled home Rhyne Hughes from 3rd base in the bottom of the first.

With New Hope leading 3-1 in the bottom of the second Justin Pigott's single drove home Heath Stevens. Darby Jackson launched a deep fly ball to left center field, Justin Pigott galloped home tying the game at 3.

Rhyne Hughes would come through with a single. Darby Jackson raced home from second base giving the Maroon Tide a 4-3 advantage through two innings.

Bottom of the 3rd Darby Jackson came through with yet another RBI. His single delivered the 5th Picayune run of the game, driving home Heath Stevens.

Maroon Tide pitcher Richard Imhoff kept the Trojans off balance and got the last two outs on a double play ball. Picayune under head coach Kent Kirkland celebrated the 4A State Championship title with a thrilling 5-3 victory over New Hope in the third and final deciding game.

It was a sweet victory since Pearl defeated the Maroon Tide in the third and final deciding State Championship game last season. Coach Kirkland said, "The old saying goes you've got to play in a state game before you win one. I think it had a lot to do with our victory tonight."

Catcher Cody Stogner said, "This is a dream, a dream come true!"

"I knew we were going to come back. We kept fighting, just kept fighting and we finally came back and got 'em," belted out Rhyne Hughes.

Darby Jackson said what a difference, "This medal around my neck isn't silver this year. It's gold."

Richard Imhoff said it's a special feeling, "It's awesome. We've been so close and have been working so hard and to finally get one takes a lot of pressure off of us. A great feeling. There's only one way to top this and that to keep going back and winning and winning over and over again."

New Hope captured game one of the best-of-three championship finals with a 4-1 win Thursday. Picayune came back with a 6-3 victory Saturday at New Hope forcing the 3rd game. The Maroon Tide close out a super season posting 35 victories and only 3 losses. New Hope heads back home with a 38 and 7 won-loss record.

The Maroon Tide were ranked 12th in the latest USA TODAY high school baseball poll.