It was supposed to be a showdown between two of the state’s premiere baseball programs.
It never was.
Top-ranked Madison Central got a solid outing from pitcher Layton Dill and came up with hit after hit to beat No. 3 Oak Grove 11-1 in just six innings at Clinton High.
Dill (6-1) went the distance for the Jaguars (21-3), allowing just four hits to go with his five strikeouts. He had plenty of help from his offense, which got 15 hits.
The Jaguars did most of their damage against Oak Grove starter Mark Worley (0-1) and John David Oubre, both seeing their first action on the mound this season. Oak Grove coach Chris McCardle elected not to throw his more experienced pitchers like junior standout Kirk McCarty or Tayler Braley.
“Honestly, we just didn’t want to throw anybody against them to let them see what we’ve got,” explained McCardle. “It’s close to playoff time and we have to have everyone ready.”
Oak Grove (22-3), which beat Evengelical (Tenn.) Christian 11-1 earlier in the day, scored its only run in the third. John Clayton Nelson singled, stole second and reached third on an error before scoring on a wild pitch. But that was all the Warriors could muster against Dill.
Both teams have earned first round byes in the Class 6A playoffs. Madison will play the winner of this week’s DeSoto Central- South Panola series, while Oak Grove will play the winner of the series between Hancock and Biloxi or Ocean Springs.