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Meridian rolls by H'burg

By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
April 9, 2004
With a 5-0 lead entering the fourth inning, Meridian High School had to go to pitching plan-B against the Hattiesburg Tigers on Thursday night.
Wildcats head baseball coach Vince McLemore replaced starter Kedric Martin with Tyler McMullen in the fourth, after Martin threw three innings of shutout baseball giving up just two hits and striking out four.
The emergency pitching change didn't affect Meridian High much, as the Wildcats, which are ranked 14th in the state by the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, picked up a 7-2 win over Hattiesburg at Q.V. Sykes Park.
"(Martin) felt some soreness in his shoulder, and we were not going to push anything," said McLemore, whose team improved to 17-7 with the win. "McMullen was scheduled to pitch (today against Northeast Lauderdale), but we brought him in to finish it because he beat (Hattiesburg) earlier last week."
McMullen closed the game for the Wildcats, striking out eight batters and yielding just two hits in four innings of work.
Meridian High took a 1-0 lead in the second, as Rodney Warren led off the bottom half of the second with a double and scored on a grounder to the right side of the infield, after moving to third on a wild pitch.
The Wildcats tacked on four runs to their lead in the third, as Kimone McDade and Warren each collected RBI doubles. Martin drove in a run with a sacrifice fly, and another run crossed the plate on a wild pitch.
McMullen drove in a run in the fourth with a triple to center field for a 6-0 lead, and he scored on a wild pitch for a seven-run advantage.
Eight of the Wildcat batters collected one hit in the game's opening innings, but the offense was halted after the fourth.
After taking a 7-0 lead, Meridian High didn't tally another run against Hattiesburg relief pitcher Jermaine Jackson, and the Wildcats recorded just one hit over the final three innings.
"We are still young," McLemore said. "When we get a big lead on somebody, we can become passive. Hattiesburg is a good team, and we have to learn to keep coming at good competition."
Meridian High continues its season with a home game against Northeast Lauderdale at 1 p.m. today.
The Wildcats will play a pair of games on Saturday. Meridian High travels to Wayne County for a 1 p.m. contest, and the team closes the weekend with a visit to Laurel for a 5 p.m. game.