The Starkville High School baseball team didn”t find anything magical at the end of the rainbow Monday night, only another victory.
After the clouds that brought a late-inning shower moved south, a rainbow formed just as Starkville third baseman Todd Phillips ran toward it to catch the baseball for the game”s final out in a 16-6 victory against West Lowndes.
“West Lowndes has a got a good team,” Starkville coach Danny Carlisle said. “We hit the ball hard several times and we had a lot of young guys out there.”
The Yellow Jackets (18-5) have regular-season games remaining at South Panola today, Meridian at home Thursday, and at Northwest Rankin before beginning the Class 5A playoffs.
With another week of action prior to the postseason, Starkville outfielder Jayson Keel said each game is important.
“You don”t try to put any games above another because a win is a win,” Keel said. “We played hard (against West Lowndes), and we plan on playing hard against (South Panola).”
For West Lowndes coach Todd Stanley, Monday”s game helped set the pitching rotation for the start of the Class A South State playoffs at 5 p.m. Friday at Mount Olive.
“Coach Carlisle and I talked about it and we knew we were going to use a lot of pitchers because of the playoffs,” Stanley said. “I thought we hit the ball pretty well. We were in it for most of the game until the end. We hated to lose, but we wanted to get a lot of pitchers some work in.”
The Panthers (16-5) used Clark McCollum for the first two innings. Devin Malone and Tyquan Lucious worked one inning each, D.Q. Farmer pitched two innings, and Fredrico Moody tossed the final inning.
Starkville scored five runs on six hits in the third, but West Lowndes answered with three runs on a pair of hits in its half of the frame.
The Yellow Jackets used another five-spot in the fourth to go up 10-3. Keel”s three-run home run was the big blow.
Carlisle was proud to see Keel hit a curveball from Lucious for his first opposite-field home run.
“It came at a good time because we were up by three,” Carlisle said. “He knocked the fire out of the ball.”
West Lowndes made one more charge, scoring three runs on three hits in the fifth, but the Yellow Jackets put the game away with two runs in the sixth and four more in the seventh.
Bryan Koenig had a single and double for the Yellow Jackets, while Chuck Tillery and Nick Brooks added two singles each. Phillips and Zach Schurch had one double each for the other extra-base hits.
Devin Malone had a double and a single, while Lucious added two singles for the Panthers.
West Lowndes had seven hits against Brooks (six strikeouts) and Hayden Higginbotham, who are ninth-graders.
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