Centreville Academy season ends in game three

Published 11:30 am Monday, April 29, 2024

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CENTREVILLE — Centreville Academy needed to win two games at home over Central Hinds Academy last Friday afternoon in the first round of the MAIS Class 4A South State Playoffs to keep its season going.

After a stunning 14-4 loss at Central Hinds Academy in six innings last Tuesday afternoon, Centreville Academy was able to tie the series at one game apiece with a 7-4 win over the Cougars in Game 2. Then Centreville made one critical mistake after another in the top of the seventh inning in the third and deciding game of the best-of-three series as the Cougars defeated the Tigers 12-5.

“This game was a lot more competitive. Mac Crawford got the start (for Central Hinds). He’s a hard-throwing rightie. Throws 90-plus. He had a lot better command than he did (last) Tuesday. We were able to get to him a little bit. We were able to manufacture some runs,” Tigers head coach Chris Owens said about Game 3. “We left some guys on. But he competed. He’s a very good baseball player.”

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Central Hinds led Centreville 4-1 after four innings of play before the Tigers struck for two runs in the bottom of the fifth inning and one run in the bottom of the sixth to tie the game at 4-4. Then the wheels fell off for the home team when it came to pitching and defense in the top of the seventh and that allowed the Cougars to score eight runs for a 12-4 lead and basically put the game away.

“We had a couple of walks and an error and that snowballed on us. They had a base hit here and there. We hit a batter. Kade Redmond, he ran out of gas,” Owens said. “When we made the change it was too late. The walks and hit batsman combined with the errors, it just got away from us.”

Redmond came on in relief of John Austin Sterling with the bases loaded and one out in the top of the fourth inning and got out of that jam with a flyout and a strikeout. That kept the Cougars’ lead at 4-1 at that point.

Owens noted that Sterling struggled at times with his command and perhaps was frustrated that some pitches he felt were strikes were called balls by the home plate umpire and that made his pitch count go up more than expected.

“There were some questionable calls. We didn’t have the same strike zone we had the first game (of the day),” Owens said. “He (Sterling) went three and two-thirds innings. He threw some good pitches.”

Winning pitcher Hayden Mathes helped his own cause by going 2-for-4 with a double and two runs batted in. For the Tigers, Redmond was 4-for-4 with a double, a triple, and two RBIs while Hunter Wilson was 2-for-4 with one RBI.

Centreville Academy, the District 5-4A No. 2 seed, finished its season with an overall record of 8-17.

Centreville Academy 7, Central Hinds Academy 4 (Game 2

CENTREVILLE — Landon Bigner took a no-hitter into the sixth inning and John Austin Sterling went 2-for-3 with a triple and three RBIs as the Centreville Academy Tigers beat the Central Hinds Academy Cougars 7-4 in Game 2 of this MAIS Class 4A South State first-round series.

Bigner pitched a complete game and gave up four runs, none of them earned, on four hits with four strikeouts and just one walks. The Tigers gave up plenty of run support with four runs in the bottom of the first inning, highlighted by Sterling’s stand-up triple to the warning track in centerfield that brought in two runs.

“He came out extremely prepared. He filled on the zone. He came out throwing strikes,” Owens said. “He threw 96 pitches, 64 for strikes. An absolutely dominating performance. He was getting ahead of the count. He was getting weak contact and early outs.”

Owens noted that he was glad to see his team start the game aggressively at the plate against Cougars starting pitcher Jay Shuff. He added that Sterling’s triple gave the Tigers the momentum they needed and that it stayed in their favor.

“Even some of our outs, we hit the ball hard and they were making some phenomenal plays in the field,” Owens said.

The Tigers led 6-0 after three innings of play and it remained that way until the sixth inning, when each team scored one run to make it a 7-1 game. Central Hinds scored three unearned runs in the top of the seventh, but it was not enough.

In addition to Sterling’s performance, Caden Bell went 2-for-4 with a double and two RBIs. Mac Crawford had a triple and John Ryan Hall had a double for the Cougars.