BILOXI, MS (WLOX) - Sure, the optimism was there.
But could anyone have expected this big of a turnaround after Biloxi’s 10-win campaign a year ago?
“No, there’s no way," Biloxi senior Conner Platt said. "I mean, we came into it expecting to do good, great things, but we didn’t expect this.”
Sitting at 23-2, the Biloxi Indians have already clinched the Region 8-6A Championship with three games still left to go in the regular season.
“They felt going into this year that they had the chance to be something special and do something special here at Biloxi," head coach Eddie Lofton said. "I think that they’ve (striven) really hard to work for that. Their offseason work ethics were as good as I’ve ever had.”
The team’s eight seniors have seen every minute of Eddie Lofton’s four-year tenure as Biloxi head coach. Whether it’s Platt batting .395 or Nick Skaggs winning at the plate (3/3 against Harrison Central on Tuesday) and on the mound (4-0, 2.60 ERA), this group is a big reason for the Indians’ breakout season.
“Taking it one step at a time," said Skaggs, a Pearl River commit. "When (Lofton) came in, we knew everything was gonna be better. He coached us and made everything better.”
“That’s been a big thing for us is just being leaders, really setting the tone," Platt said. "(Just) showing the younger kids an example of how you should play, how you should act off the field.”
Plus, it doesn’t hurt to land an elite transfer prospect just months before the season.
“This is 22 years as a head coach, and this is year one for me to have somebody of that magnitude fall into your lap,” Lofton joked.
Junior transfer Colt Keith has lived up to the billing. The Arizona State commit leads the team in qualified batting average (.500), hits (34), doubles (10) and RBI (34) - not to mention a lights-out 0.84 ERA to go with two saves on the mound.
“It was a huge culture shock coming from Arizona to here," Keith said. "But I gelled well with the guys, hung out with them outside of school (and) they welcomed me right away. Obviously, it’s worked out better than I could have imagined. It’s perfect.”
The Indians may currently be MaxPreps’ number one team in all of Mississippi... but there’s still bigger goals ahead for this group.
“Just wanna be number one everywhere," Skaggs said. "(Number one) in the nation. Beat everyone.”
Next up, the Indians visit Harrison Central (13-9) this Friday, April 12 at 7:00 p.m.