Boyd hits two homers to lead Warriors past Centreville Academy; Columbia Academy comes back to beat Petal

SUMRALL – Even before the first pitch was thrown between Centreville Academy and Oak Grove Monday afternoon, the Warriors were locked into the Adidas Rex Deep South Tournament Semifinals for Tuesday.

That didn’t stop the Warriors from earning the 8-3 win over the Wildcats.

Senior Drew Boyd led the Oak Grove (11-0) offense, going 3-for-3 from the plate with two RBI and two home runs. Junior Hayes Maples added two hits and two RBI, as he homered in the game, too. Boyd’s first homer and Maples’ shot were in the first inning to give Oak Grove a quick 3-0 lead.

“They’ve been swinging a good bat lately,” Oak Grove head coach Chris McCardle said. “Of course, we faced another good pitcher. They set the tone early for us, made some good swings and used the whole field. That gave us some momentum.”

After the Tigers cut into the lead in the second inning, 3-1, Oak Grove tacked on three more runs in the third inning. Sophomore John Rhys Plumlee and Boyd had back-to-back singles with one out, then senior Zach Smith singled to left – his second of the game – to score Plumlee. Junior Tanner Slay singled to left two batters later to score Boyd and Smith.

Sophomore Kris Jones scored Oak Grove’s seventh run in the fourth inning, coming home on a passed ball, and Boyd’s home run in the sixth inning pushed the Warriors’ lead to 8-3.

On the mound, Maples pitched the first 4.1 innings, scattering five hits while giving up three runs – two earned – with four strikeouts and three walks. Smith pitched the next 1.2 innings, and he didn’t allow a hit with two strikeouts and a walk, then Junior Cole Strickland pitched the final frame, and he allowed just one hit and he struck out the side.

“Hayes, we’re trying to get him ready for next year,” McCardle said. “He did a good job. He was a little shaky, but he did a good job. I thought Zach came in, and we rely on him in any game, so he did his job. Cole Strickland came in and threw well. He was really poised, and it was his first time coming out in a varsity game.”

Oak Grove will play its semifinal game Tuesday afternoon against Columbia Academy, which beat Petal in the first matchup of the day, and the winner will play in the tournament championship Tuesday night.

Columbia Academy 15, Petal 13: Columbia Academy scored 12 runs in the bottom of the sixth to come from behind against Petal, and win 15-13. The Panthers led 9-3 going into the sixth, but the bullpen allowed 12 runs on five hits, four walks and hit two Cougar batters.

“We were up 9-3 and the depth of our pitching staff didn’t step up today,” Petal head coach Larry Watkins said. “We have a district ballgame coming up Wednesday, so our hands were tied a little bit on the available pitchers today.”

Columbia Academy recorded three home runs in the inning, including two from Wiley Cleland while the other homer was from Luke McKenzie. Cleland blasted a grand slam to cut the Petal lead to 9-8, then McKenzie’s home run extended the Cougars’ lead to 14-9. Cleland’s solo shot gave them a 15-9 advantage to finish off the sixth-inning scoring.

“We just didn’t have anybody who could go out there and slow them down at the end,” Watkins said. “I was kind of worried about that, because you can’t give them a lot. They will hit the ball out of the ballpark.”

Prior to the scoring outburst, Petal’s Tyler Dobson was in-line for the win. He pitched five innings, gave up three earned runs on six hits while striking out four. Dobson did not come out to pitch the sixth after throwing 94 pitches.

“I thought he did a good job,” Watkins said. “It’s just early (in the season) and cold, so we didn’t want to give him too many pitches.”

Braxton Miller led the Panthers with four hits and four RBI at the plate, Hunter Dykes recorded two hits and two RBI, Dylan Pylant had two hits and Jacob Hall and Tanner Estill had two RBI each. 

Petal (6-4) is back in action Wednesday with a home game against Meridian at 1 p.m.