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Quitman takes on top-ranked Picayune

By By Jeff Byrd / staff writer
April 25, 2002
QUITMAN Fresh off a two-game sweep of McComb, the Quitman Panthers now face a second round Class 4A series date with one of the nation's top high school baseball teams in the Picayune Maroon Tide.
Picayune is Mississippi's top-ranked team having compiled an impressive 29-1 record. The Tide swept past Vancleave in the opening round which included a 14-2 rout in the clincher. Last week, Picayune was ranked 17th in the USA Today prep poll.
Quitman head coach Brett Rigby, however, said his team is relishing the challenge. The series opens on Friday at 6 p.m. at the Picayune Baseball Complex. Game two is set for 6 p.m. at Quitman's Panther Field.
Leading the Tide rotation will be Justin Pigott. He is 10-0 with a 1.42 earned run average and 66 strike outs. Behind him the Tide has Rhyne Hughes (7-0, 3.31 ERA) and Chris Bucano (7-1, 1.89 ERA).
Picayune may be even more dangerous on offense.
The Tide is led by Hughes who has driven in 48 runs this season. He is batting .500 with five home runs.
Leadoff man Matt Riser is hitting .446 and has scored 44 runs. Donnie Keller and Cody Stogner had key hits in the Vancleave series.
Quitman will be able to throw a strong staff out against Picayune. Hard-throwing lefty Matthew Creighton is one of the area's top arms. Creighton had a no-hitter in an 18-0 romp past McComb in last week's series.
For the season, Creighton is 10-1 and has lowered his ERA to 0.40. He has struck out 172 batters in just 74 innings pitched. This includes a 17-fan effort against Northeast Lauderdale.
Jonathan Russell will likely start game two in Quitman. He is 8-3 with a 1.45 ERA. Anthony McKenzie and Jamie Shirley will be used in relief.
A key for the Panthers has been the late-season surge of sophomore Adam Harper.
The Panthers are led on offense by center fielder/shortstop Lamarcus Anderson. Anderson is batting a team high .388 with 44 runs scored and 22 RBI. He has stolen 35 bases out of 35 attempts.
Third baseman Blake Pippin paces the team in RBIs with 28 and is batting .321. Creighton has been hot with the bat of late is now up to .351 with 19 RBIs.
Russell is hitting .344 with 30 runs scored. Harper is batting .364 with 12 RBIs while Dustin Hamrick has knocked in 24 RBIs.

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