Meridian Star


April 11, 2014

Meridian swipes one from Petal

MERIDIAN — After sitting out the first two innings due to a suspension, Meridian High School’s J’Mar Smith entered a 1-1 game and sparked the Wildcats to a 5-3 win over Petal High School in District 5-6A action Thursday night.  

Smith, who was ejected from a previous contest and thus had to sit out 14 total innings, reached base safely in all three plate appearances, scored a run and stole a base.  

“I was just trying to get on base,” Smith said. “That’s what my coach wants me to do, so that’s what I try to do. Whenever I can, just try to put the ball in play, and if they don’t give me anything to hit, then I’m just going to take my free base.”

Added Meridian coach Robert “Popeye” Cole, “He’s probably my most athletic player out there. He gives us that spunk that we need.”

The Wildcats (8-11, 2-5) swiped five bases altogether, and have now notched wins in four of their last six games.  

“We’re starting  together as a team,” Meridian coach Robert Cole said. “I wanted us to gel better as we went along. We made a lot of mistakes in the first part of the season, but we’re starting to do the things we were supposed to do and starting to win games.”

As it turns it out, Petal (12-6, 4-3) was the squad that made the mistakes, as the Panthers committed four fielding errors — leading to four MHS runs.

“We’re playing better on the field right now,” Cole said. “Overall, mainly we’re not making as many mistakes as we were. We were making four or five errors per game, and tonight we made one.”

Additionally, the MHS batters produced better at-bats in pounding out four extra-base hits.

“We’re being smarter at the plate,” Cole said. “We’re being more disciplined. We’re starting to get the timely hits, and that’s what wins ball games.”   

Jarred Scott (4-4) tossed all seven innings in earning the win. Scott allowed six hits while striking out six batters.

“I felt good today,” Scott said. “We knew we had to have this game, so I gave it my all. I just focused and threw strikes and got outs.”

Added Cole, “He’s lost some games that he should have won, but Jarred goes out and gives you a 100 percent effort every time. If we make the plays behind Jarred then we are going to win the ball game.”

MHS catcher Aaron Garrett finished the game with two hits and a RBI.

The win proved pivotal for the Wildcats as they attempt to scratch their way back into contention for a playoff spot.

“Right now, we’re sitting one game behind the third place team in the division,” Cole said. “We need to win out in our division in order to make the playoffs. We’ll have a chance if we continue to play like we have been the last five games ... Hitting the baseball, making the plays on defense and getting our pitchers to throw strikes.”

Meridian travels to Brandon High School for another crucial district matchup Friday.

“If we just keep playing hard and do what the coaches ask of us, then we can do anything,” Smith said. “We can win out. We just have to go out there and play hard every play.”

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