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Nine looking for state prep baseball titles

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
April 17, 2002
Nine area baseball teams will be seeking to capture state championships in the next few weeks as Mississippi High School Activities Association postseason play begins today.
Philadelphia and Forest open play in their Class 3A best-of-three first-round series at Burnside Park at 4:30 p.m. today. Game 2 is slated for 7 p.m. Thursday at Forest. A third game, if needed, would be Saturday at 7 p.m. back at Philadelphia.
The other series are Thursday, Friday, and Saturday affairs.
Division 5-3A champion Philadelphia, 16-9, will start Hunter Holley (10-1) on the mound in today's opener. Division 6-3A runner-up Forest is 17-10.
Division 5-5A champion Meridian, 28-5, begins Class 5A action Thursday when the Wildcats host Division 6-5A runner-up Petal, 19-9, at John Moss Field at 6 p.m. Game 2 is set for Friday at 6 p.m. at Petal with a third game, if needed, back at John Moss on Saturday.
The Wildcats are ranked No. 6 in the state, while the Petal Panthers check in at No. 10.
Also in Class 5A first-round action, Wayne County's Division 5-5A runner-up War Eagles travel to Division 6-5A champion Oak Grove, 20-4, for a 7 p.m. series opener on Thursday. The series resumes Friday at Waynesboro with a 7 p.m. start. A third game, if needed, is slated for Saturday at Oak Grove at 1 p.m. Oak Grove is ranked third in the state.
The Division 5-4A champion Quitman Panthers, 23-7, open play in Class 4A Thursday when they host McComb, 17-9. Game 1 is set for 7 p.m. at Quitman with the second game slated for 7 p.m. Friday at McComb. A third game, if needed, would be Saturday at 1 p.m. at Quitman.
In Class 2A, Division 5-2A champion Newton, 16-7, takes on St. Andrew's, 20-12. The Tigers will host Game 1 Thursday at 7 p.m. with the Saints hosting the second game Friday at 7 p.m. at Ridgeland. A third game, if needed, would be back at Newton on Saturday. Division 6-2A runner-up St. Andrew's is led by Hickory native Mark Fanning.
Also in 2A, Division 5-2A runner-up Clarkdale takes on Division 6-2A champion Loyd Star. The Hornets will host Game 1 Thursday at 6 p.m. just outside Brookhaven with Clarkdale hosting the second game in the series Friday at 7 p.m. A third game, if needed, would be played Saturday at Loyd Star. The Hornets are led by Sid Wheatley, who coached at Union the past two seasons and is known for dating Faith Hill during their high school days at McLaurin.
Union, 17-11, won the Division 6-1A championship this year and will meet Division 5-2A runner-up Weir, 9-7, in a Class 1A best-of-three series. Thursday's game is set for 6 p.m. at Union with the second game on tap for 6 p.m. Friday at Weir. Union would host a third game, if needed, on Saturday.
Defending Class 1A state runner-up Lake finished second to Union in Division 6-1A this year. The Hornets face the Division 5-2A champion Fighting Irish of Greenville St. Joseph in their bid to return to the state finals. The first game will be played at Lake Thursday due to St. Joseph having a school play on Friday. Game 2 will be played Friday at Greenville with a 4 p.m. start. A third game, if needed, would also be played at Greenville Saturday at noon.
Lake enters the series with a 15-16 overall record, but only three of the losses have been to Class 1A schools.
Nanih Waiya, 11-4, captured the Division 4-1A championship over West Lowndes. The Warriors will square off with Smithville's Seminoles in a best-of-three series with Thursday's game set for Nanih Waiya and Friday's at Smithville. Nanih Waiya would host a third game, if needed.