Trojans Division 3A Region 6 ChampsBy JOSHUA SEABROOK,
Thursday night, the Trojans staked claim to the Division 3A Region 6 title by completing an undefeated run through district play by knocking off St. Andrew's Episcopal 2-0.
Magee is in the midst of one of the most prolific seasons in Magee baseball history with an impressive 21-3 record after knocking off West Jones 4-1 Saturday to run the team’s win streak to 17 games. The Trojans aren't just winning on the baseball field, thy are racking up spectacular grades in the classroom with a combined team GPA of 3.233 on a 4-point scale, which qualified the team to be a Scholar Athlete Team by the Mississippi High School Activities Association.
Magee was tasked with facing the Saint’s ace, Holland Townes, in order to complete an undefeated record in division play. The Trojans responded with their own ace, Luke West, who has come through in many big game situations for Magee all season. The game went as expected early on, both offenses struggling to find any rhythm against the opposing starter as both pitchers settled into a groove early. West sat the Saints down in order in the top of the first. Townes managed to work around an infield single by Chandler Pittman in the bottom of the inning to sit the Trojans down without a run. In the second, West managed to pitch around a Brennon McNair error and Townes sat down Magee three up three down. West pitched around a one out single by picking off a base runner at first to keep St. Andrew's searching for consistent offense. The Trojans continued to struggle at the plate as well, as Townes pitched around a two out walk by getting Pittman to strike out with a man on to end the third. After a 1-2-3, top of the fourth by West, the Trojans got the first run scoring opportunity of the game for either team in the bottom half of the inning. After Timon Kennedy struck out to open the inning, McNair was hit on the front elbow by a Townes fastball to give Magee a one out base runner. Caleb Brown popped up on a bunt single attempt that luckily landed just shy of the Saints’ third baseman to allow Brown to reach base without a throw. On the third pitch of Adam May's at bat, Townes spiked a ball in the dirt that got away from St. Andrews’ backstop, Jake Mitchell, to allow McNair and Brown to advance 90 feet into scoring position. Unfortunately for the Trojans, Townes showed why he is so highly touted as he stuck out both Mays and Landon Hayes to end the threat without breaking the scoreless tie.
After West retired the Saints in the top of the fifth without a run, action picked up in the bottom of the frame with the Trojans at bat. Mason Booth started the bottom of the fifth with a two strike single between the first and second baseman and was lifted for courtesy runner Cayden Bridges. Seth Russell slapped a hard liner in the right-center gap that allowed the speedy Bridges to scurry home all the way from first to give Magee a 1-0 lead. After a Zack Teater strikeout and a Pittman groundout, Russell stood at third with two outs as the Trojans looked to score an insurance run for West. All season long, Kennedy has delivered several key hits for Magee when it came clutch time and he did that again with a hard single just out of reach of the outstretched glove of Noel Wiggs at first to score Russell from third to make the lead 2-0. McNair grounded out to end the inning, but not before Magee took a firm hold of the game with West dealing on the mound.
West allowed a leadoff single to Wiggs on a hard liner to center to start the top of the sixth. Avery Thomas shot a hard liner into the glove of Russell at third, Russell noticed Wiggs halfway to second and fired across to first, but the ball got away from Hayes to allow Wiggs to move up to second base. With one out and Mitchell at the plate, St. Andrew's put Wiggs into motion at second in a hit and run. Mitchell launched a ball that was headed for the right-center gap, but Teater tracked the ball all the way and hawked it down in the gap before firing the ball to second to double up Wiggs to end the threat. In the bottom of the sixth, Brown struck out looking ahead of a May single on a grounder with eyes that found the small hole between the Saints’ third baseman and shortstop. Hayes worked a walk after battling back from a 1-2 count to give the Trojans men on first and second. Booth was hit by a pitch to load the bases with only one out. Unfortunately, the Magee threat would be thwarted by Townes as he got Russell to strike out and Teater to line out to second on a scalding liner that looked like a base hit until Mathew Azordegan made a shoestring snag to end the frame. "Cool Hand Luke" returned to the mound looking to go the distance and claim the crown for the Trojans in the seventh. Townes led the inning off with a single to show the Saints weren't giving up without a fight. West responded by getting Brett Ashy to strike out ahead of a Jack Ferguson single to put men on first and second. West left the tying run on first as he got the final two St. Andrews batters to fly out to close the deal as the Trojan players stormed the field, dumping the Gatorade bucket on Coach Allen Eubanks to celebrate the district title after a thrilling 2-0 victory behind a complete game shutout by West.