Only six Daily Corinthian coverage area teams remain alive in the 2021 MHSAA playoffs as softball enters the north half finals while baseball readies for the second round.
Kossuth and Booneville will meet later this week to decide the north half 3A winner in softball while Corinth, Biggersville, Kossuth and Booneville baseball squads will each be participating in the second round of the post-season.
The series is all best-of-three, including the state championship round. It takes 10 wins to become state champion so each baseball team needs eight more “W’s” to earn the gold glove while the Lady Aggies and Lady Blue Devils just need four more. Either Kossuth or Booneville will represent north Mississippi in the 3A championship series scheduled for next week at Mississippi State University.
All state baseball championship series will be held in Pearl as usual after a year off due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
For starters, the Kossuth/Booneville softball series will feature a pair of squads from the same division (1-3A) that have already faced each other twice in the regular season. The Lady Devils earned a 2-1 win in the first meeting while the Lady Aggies won the second contest 8-1 with both teams posting 9-1 division records that run differential allowed KHS to claim the Division 1-3A title.
“We are both very familiar with each other,” said first-year Kossuth head coach Dana Rhea. “(Booneville) have really good pitching and they hit and field well, just like Houston. I expect the same kind of series as we had in the regular season.
“I know both of us will come out and play hard expecting to win the series. I’m excited to get it started.”
The Lady Aggies have advanced this far with one of the youngest teams in the state. Their starting lineup features four juniors, a sophomore, three freshman and two eighth-graders. The KHS roster contains no seniors.
“Here at Kossuth the administration, the faculty, the parents and the community have been tremendous in cheering us on,” Rhea said. “Our girls feed off of that. They have all bought into the system, played their tails off, practice and play hard every game and they truly are a family. They love each other and they are all on the same page.”
Kossuth shocked the Magnolia state softball world last weekend by sweeping No. 9 Houston and their superstar pitcher with 5-2 and 1-0 wins. The series-clinching victory came when Katie Meeks slid safely home on a passed ball in the bottom of the seventh in what had been a scoreless game.
The successful slide ignited a wild celebration on the Kossuth side as parents, players and even the head coach showed their joy by cheering loudly, crying happy tears and was capped by Rhea sprinting to the left-field lounge and greeting and high-fiving the students perched just beyond the left-field wall that had been vocally supportive of the Lady Aggies the entire game.
The Kossuth/Booneville series begins Friday at 6 in Booneville with game two Saturday at 3 in Kossuth. Game three, if necessary, would be played at KHS about 20 minutes following the conclusion of game two.
Elsewhere, No. 15 Corinth swept Choctaw Central in their opening series (15-0, 12-0) and will next face Caledonia beginning Thursday at 6 at the CHS Sports Complex. Game two will be Friday at Caledonia beginning at 6 while game three would be at Corinth Saturday at 2 pm.
Biggersville finished off their two-game opening series sweep of West Lowndes last Wednesday (15-0, 12-0) and have had some extra time to prep for their second-round opponent Hickory Flat. The first game of that series will be Thursday at Biggersville while game two is set for Friday at Hickory Flat.
Kossuth, by virtue of their series sweep of Houston (7-3, 13-2) last weekend, will next face Senatobia beginning Thursday on the road at 7 pm. Game two will be at Kossuth Friday at 6 while game three would be at Senatobia Saturday at 2 p.m.
Booneville will draw Winona in round two after sweeping Hatley (11-1, 12-0). The Blue Devils and Tigers will face off Thursday at 6 in Winona before playing game two Friday in Booneville at 7. Game three would be back in Winona Saturday at a yet-to-be-determined start time.