By Scott Walters
New Hope High School finds its baseball season hanging in the balance today at the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 4A state championship series.
New Hope (29-6) will face Vancleave (28-7) at 7 tonight in the second game of a best-of-three series at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Vancleave took the opening game of the series 1-0 Wednesday night.
Thus, New Hope will have to win two games in less than 24 hours to garner the school’s first baseball state championship since 2014.
“We have been in this position before,” New Hope coach Lee Boyd said. “After losing the first game to Mooreville (in the second round), our guys really showed what they were made of with two hard-fought wins to advance.”
Wednesday’s loss dropped the Trojans to 8-2 in postseason play this year.
The good news for New Hope is it has not lost back-to-back games the entire season.
In Wednesday’s series opener, Vancleave ace Bailee Hendon threw a four-hit shutout.
Hendon also walked a pair of Trojans, but New Hope was unable to prevent its first shutout of the season.
New Hope sophomore Ryan Burt also threw a complete game, allowing six hits and no earned runs.
“Pitching takes center stage when you play for a state championship,” Boyd said. “You have to play a clean game in the field and you have to take advantage of your scoring chances.”
Follow Dispatch sports writer Scott Walters on Twitter @dispatchscott
Scott was sports editor for The Dispatch.