WCCA outpaces Kemper in Game 1 of state championship series

Published 10:41 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

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SCOOBA — Tucker Freeman had a big game not only at the plate but on the base pads as well and Brayden Ready pitched six solid innings as the Wilkinson County Christian Academy Rams defeated the Kemper Academy Rams 14-4 in six innings Tuesday afternoon to take a 1-0 lead in the 2024 MAIS Class 2A State Championship Series.

The first game of the best-of-three series was played at East Mississippi Community College and North State champion Kemper Academy is the host team for Game 1 and, if necessary, Game 3. That didn’t seem to faze WCCA at all despite making the long road trip from a few miles south of Woodville to north of Meridian.

Especially in the first inning when the visiting and South State champion Rams jumped on Kemper Academy starting pitcher Casen Holmes for seven runs in the top of the first inning.

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“Fortunately, we started the game with a big inning, which swung the momentum our way,” WCCA head coach Kyle White said. “That continued throughout the game and we got another gutsy out from Brayden Ready.”

Ready did give up a three-run home run to Eli Weaver in the bottom of the first inning that cut lead to 7-3, but he settled down after that. And he got plenty more help from his teammates.

The visiting Rams scored one run in the top of the second inning and added three more runs in the top of the fourth for an 11-3 lead. The host Rams from DeKalb scored their final run of the game to make it an 11-4 game.

Ready went all six innings and allowed four runs, all of them earned, on six hits with four strikeouts and five walks. The defense behind him committed just one error.

Holmes, on the other hand, lasted just three and two-thirds innings and gave up 11 runs, all of them earned, on eight hits with five walks and just one strikeout. Weaver came on in relief and gave up two earned runs on one hit and one walk while striking out two over two innings. Blake Hutcherson pitched one-third of an inning and allowed one earned run on two hits.

Freeman led WCCA’s 11-hit attack by going 2-for-3 with one walk, three stolen bases, five runs batted in, and three runs scored. He was one of four Rams to tally two base hits.

“Tucker Freeman had a big night at the plate with his five RBIs,” White said. “Overall, the guys played pretty well (Tuesday) night. There were definitely some things that need to be cleaned up for this group to continue to be successful.”

Carter Graham was 2-for-3 with one walk and two RBIs. Jacob Sessions went 2-for-3 with one walk and two runs scored. Gavin Davis was 2-for-3 with two RBIs and one run scored.

Wesley Sanchez, the No. 5 batter in the line-up, even got in the act by going 1-for-3 with one walk, two stolen bases, two RBIs, and one run scored. Surprisingly, not one of WCCA’s hits went for extra bases.

WCCA looked to win the Class 2A state title at home for Game 2 at 5 p.m. Wednesday. However, if Kemper Academy won that game, there would be a deciding Game 3 most likely at EMCC in Scooba on Saturday at a time to be determined.

“We did a lot of things good to get the win (in Game 1), but this group is capable of more and that is what we are looking for in Game 2,” White said.