Ethel played its best game of the season when the Tigers needed it the most.
Facing elimination in the decisive game of a 1A playoff series with Richton, Colin White pitched a two-hit shutout, Ethel had 11 hits, including three homers and two doubles, and the Tigers played errorless ball. The result was a 10-0 victory Monday.
Now it's on to the South State final and a rematch with Resurrection.
“It was the best game for sure. No double about it,” said coach Chris Schuster. “It was a stress-free game in a lot of ways.”
The Tigers won the first game of the series 5-1 Friday, then saw their 18-game winning streak snapped with a 7-1 loss Saturday. After the loss, Schuster told his players that good teams bounce back.
“We got 10-runned in the playoff in 2016 and bounced back and got it done the next day,” said Schuster. The Tigers lost the opening game of a series to Noxapater 11-1 but won the next two 10-0 and 10-5.
“If you look around, you will see a lot of losses. Even Sumrall was beaten,” he said. Sumrall lost for the first time 10-7 to Greene County but rebounded with 3-0 and 5-3 wins to reach the 4A South State final.
White had two strikeouts and did not give up any walks. “He was changing speeds and he has a heck of a twelve-six curveball,” Schuster said. “They were out front. They were popping up a lot. They were trying to hit out of the park, and they were hitting straight up.”
Gabe Cain had the big bat with two home runs. Tyler Weaver also homered, and Kaden Adams and Cyrus Rone doubled.
Cain led off the second with a homer to give Ethel a 1-0 lead. A double by Rone and Weaver's homer made it 3-0 in the third before the Tigers brought the game to an end with seven runs in the sixth, a rally included a two-run homer by Cain. A single by Kameron McCuller scored Brady White with the final run.
McCuller went the distance in the 5-1 game, allowing five hits and two walks, with five strikeouts. After Richton took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Tigers scored two in the second, two more in the third and a final run in the sixth. Cain had a homer.
Ethel was held to three hits by Brannon Riley in the 7-1 loss. A double by Rone and a single by Weaver produced the Eagles' run in the sixth. Sam Henderson led a 10-hit attack for Richton with a double and a triple.
Resurrection advanced to the South State final with a 10-2 victory over Taylorsville Monday. When the team met in the third-round last year, Ethel suffered a couple of tough losses, 6-4 and 6-5.
Schuster said the Eagles are fundamentally sound. “They’re going to throw strikes and they are going to play for seven innings. They’ve grown up one year, so they are going to be better than
With a 29-5 record, Resurrection is the state’s top ranked 1A team according to the website MaxPreps. Ethel (27-7) is third ranked.
Ethel will host Game 1 at 7 p.m. Friday. The second game will be at Resurrection in Pascagoula Saturday, with the third game at Ethel Monday, if needed.
With both Ethel and Resurrection as region champions, Ethel in 5-1A and Resurrection in 7-1A, MHSAA guidelines give the odd home game to the team from the lower numbered region.
That could be important since the Tigers are unbeaten at home.
McCuller will start on the mound Friday. “He’s ready to go. He wants the ball,” Schuster said.
Biggersville and West Union meet in the North State final. The championship series begins May 24 at Trustmark Park in Pearl.