Harrison Central came out swinging — and pitching for that matter — to grab the first game of the South State 6A championship baseball series.
The Red Rebels rapped out 13 hits and Chris Crosby threw a complete game three-hitter as the Red Rebels defeated Oak Grove 10-1 at the Red Rebel diamond.
James Land set the table by scoring the first run of the game on a wild pitch, then added a pair of RBIs in the attack. Reagan Wease added three hits, while Jake Rea and Luis Colon had two apiece.
“We came out swinging the bats well, and I had a big hit in that key spot,” Land said. “We have to be aggressive against these guys. They were aggressive against us last year, so we had to pay them back so we came out and played hard.”
Harrison Central (27-3) and Oak Grove (28-4) meet in game two of the series tonight at 7 at Pete Taylor Park on the Southern Miss campus. It will be the Red Rebels’ first chance to play on the USM diamond.
“Their pitcher did a good job of throwing strikes,” Oak Grove coach Chris McCardle said. “They put the pressure on us and we didn’t do a good job of handling it. We are pretty young. You could tell they are senior-oriented and played a great game. I hope we can come back (Friday) and make a better game of it.”
Crosby (6-1) struck out five, and benefited from a good defense, including a spectacular diving catch by Luis Colon in the second inning.
“I kind of hurt my shoulder against Petal, and took a week off against George County,” Crosby said. “I was ready to go this week. I gave it 110 percent. We had to jump on these guys tonight. All my pitches were working for me. Hunter (Necaise) did a great job behind the plate and my defense played great.”
Land walked, stole second, moved up on a wild pitch, and scored on a wild pitch by losing pitcher Kirk McCarty to open the game. After Bobby Bradley was intentionally walked, Bryant Johnston singled him home for a quick 2-0 lead in the first.
Land’s RBI single in the second pushed the lead to 3-0.
Oak Grove’s Colton McMurry, who had two hits, drove in courtesy runner Lincoln Wilson in the third to cut the lead to 3-1. But it was all Harrison Central after that.
Land drove in his 43rd run of the season with a sacrifice fly in the fourth. And Derrick Mount later scored from third McCarty tried to pick off Bradley on first.
Harrison Central left no doubt, scoring five runs in the sixth inning when they sent 10 men to the plate.
“We ran the bases aggressively,” Harrison Central coach Pat Olmi. “When we hit the ball like that, we can beat anybody.”