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Winning opener key for Cats

By Staff
COMEBACKER Meridian High School pitcher John Iverson fields a grounder in a recent game. The Wildcats open up second-round playoff action Friday at Moss Point. Photo by Paula Merritt/The Meridian Star
By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
April 25, 2002
For Meridian head baseball coach Vince McLemore, the key to the Wildcats' second round playoff series with Moss Point is to win Friday night's opener.
To do that, Meridian, 31-5, will look to continue putting on pressure much like it did in winning the first round series with Petal. The second round series opens Friday night at 6 p.m. at Moss Point.
Game two is set for 4 p.m. on Saturday at John Moss Field. If a third game is necessary, it will be played on Monday in Moss Point.
Moss Point earned its ticket to the second round by rallying past Long Beach 5-3 in a deciding third game on Saturday in Moss Point. The Tigers were down 1-0 in the series but came back to win two straight.
Spinks has been stout all season and won game one against Petal 4-1. He is 8-0 on the season with an 0.96 earned run average. He has struck out 86 batters in 62 innings pitched while issuing just 36 walks.
Moss Point, 15-14, is paced by pitcher Miles Clark (9-2). He had three hits in the game three win against Long Beach. Other top Tiger hitters include Brandon King, Marlen Bogan and Billy Magruder.
Meridian will counter with an offensive unit that has compiled an impressive .354 batting average. The Wildcats lead the state in extra base hits with 110 including 76 doubles and 20 home runs.
Senior catcher/pitcher Torry Bates leads the way batting a robust .452 with eight home runs, 13 doubles and 47 runs batted in.
First baseman John Stevens is right behind at .424 with seven home runs, 12 doubles and 38 RBI. Shortstop and leadoff batter Richmond Alexander bats .420 with 47 runs scored. Second baseman Maurice Cole comes in at .372 with 22 RBI.
John Iverson (.362, 23 RBI, 3 HR) anchors center field while Ricky McMillian comes in at .322. Andy Slayton (.291, 18 runs) starts in left.
Bates (8-1, 1.63 ERA, 40 SO) will likely start game two at John Moss. Iverson (6-2, 1.91 ERA, 55 SO) will get the nod in game three while Tyler Maxwell (5-2, 3 saves, 48 SO) will be used in relief.