During the 2008 Dizzy Dean High School World Series, Kosciusko finished one win shy of reaching the championship game by losing to New Hope in the semifinals.
But on Sunday night, Kosciusko had what it took to make it to this year”s championship game by beating Holmes County, of Bonifay, Fla., 16-6 in six innings at New Hope High School”s Trojan Field.
It was the second year in a row for Kosciusko to eliminate Holmes County from the World Series.
Kosciusko plays defending World Series champion Ridgeland in the championship game at 6 p.m. today at New Hope.
“Last year we sort of built off of this because last year we went to the semifinals,” said Kosciusko coach Jonathan Jones. “Now we”ve made it to the championship and we”ve got a lot of young kids starting and it gives them a lot of confidence. (Holmes County) helped us out in that first inning and gave us a few runs and that built some momentum. It got a little intense, but we were able to push through it.”
Kosciusko made it to the semifinals by beating Starkville Academy 8-5 earlier in the day.
Starkville Academy was eliminated after making it to the championship bracket of the World Series for the first time.
Holmes County began the game with a ground-rule double and a single to score one run, but Kosciusko batted around in the bottom of the first inning and took advantage of three errors and five walks to plate five runs.
Kosciusko never looked back.
“We preach all the time when somebody punches you, you punch back,” Jones said. “You never get down. You try to break down each inning an inning at a time. We try to win each inning. All the kids did a great job putting the ball in play. We played our game which is small ball and did a good job with it.”
Kosciusko tallied nine hits, led by catcher Cole McBride, who was 2 for 4 with a double and three RBIs.
Third baseman Steven Hanson was also 2 for 4 with a pair of singles, while shortstop Ty Dean, second baseman Ryan Lawrence and left fielder Chris Cockrell all doubled for Kosciusko. Cockrell had two RBIs, while Dean and Lawrence each drove in one.
Southpaw Patrick Stewart was the winning pitcher for Kosciusko. He settled in after getting out of a sticky first inning and lasted 5 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits, while striking out eight and walking three.
“(Stewart)”s a new kid for us and just transferred in at the beginning of the summer,” Jones said. “He”s doing a good job for us. He got in a jam in the first inning, but he just give up one run. We sort of built off that.”
Holmes County had seven hits, led by catcher Jomar Concepcion, who was 3-for-4 with a double.
Centerfielder Jeremy McGowan was a perfect 2 for 2 at the plate with a double, while designated hitter Will Thompson and pitcher Cole Long both had doubles with two RBIs for Holmes County.
Long was the losing pitcher, lasting only 2 1/3 innings and surrendering four earned runs on five hits while, walking six and striking out two.
Jones should be able to get a decent scouting report on the championship game opponent tonight. His brother, Brian Jones, is the head coach at Neshoba Central, which was eliminated by Ridgeland in the semifinals Sunday.
“All I know about (Ridgeland) right now is they beat Neshoba which is my brother”s team,” Jones said. “Neshoba is real good so I would imagine that they are going to be real good. I know they have been well coached in the past. I don”t know who we are going to pitch. I guess we are going to have to flip a coin and go from there. It should be a good game for both teams.”
n Holmes County (Bonifay, Fla.) 7, Gulfport 4: Holmes County reached the semifinals by knocking off Gulfport 7-4 in the second game held at Trojan Field on Sunday afternoon.
After a brief rain delay in the first inning, Holmes County went to work in the middle innings by plating six runs between the fourth and fifth innings to ensure themselves another game.
Homes County had 10 hits, led by third baseman Ethan Russ, who was 2 for 3 with a double and one RBI.
Right fielder Chase Arnold was 2 for 4 with a double and two runs batted in, while pitcher Jeremy McGowan was 2 for 5 with a double and two RBIs. First baseman Cody Harrison also doubled in the win for Holmes County.
McGowen tossed a complete game to earn the victory on the mound. McGowen went all seven innings, giving up only two earned runs on four hits, while striking out five and walking five.
Second baseman J.C. Heflin had the lone extra base hit for Gulfport with a fourth-inning double.
Jonathan Holder took the loss for Gulfport, going 5 1/3 innings allowing three earned runs on eight hits, while striking out seven and walking one.