The New Hope Trojans (26-8) defeated the Pascagoula Panthers (24-15) 11-9 in the opening game of the Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 5A championship game Wednesday at Trustmark Stadium in Pearl.
The Trojans got on the board early and lead the contest 3-0 in the first inning. The Panthers came back strong in the sixth inning when they scored six runs to tie to game at 9-9.
“Man it’s always great to win the first game,” head coach Lee Boyd said. “We played well and the guys swung the bats well. We got into some trouble in the sixth inning. We were up 9-3 and they scored six runs with two outs. They got something like four doubles and scored some runs.”
Boyd said the team will likely practice Thursday at a Jackson-area high school before watching some baseball during the evening.
Game two of the best-of-three series will get underway Friday at 1:30 p.m.
For Boyd, the past week leading to the state championship has been a whirlwind of excitement and emotion.
After defeating Hernando 8-5 on the road May 16, Boyd returned to New Hope in time for the birth of his son, Brady, who was born Fri., May 17 at 7:10 a.m. Boyd said he was blessed to have a big win and a new son, although some advanced planning may have taken place.
“It was a great week for me and my family,” Boyd said. “We beat Hernando which was needed to get us to state. My daughter was born three years ago when we were playing a division game. We scheduled a C-section for Friday morning because I knew it would be a day game. We actually ended up playing the second game on Sunday because of the weather. God is just great. My son is such a blessing.”
Making an appearance in the state tournament is also something Boyd is celebrating.
“We were one pitch away from making it last year,” Boyd said. “We went so far but we just didn’t make it.”
Boyd said he was excited to be playing at Trustmark Stadium and said his team would not have made it without sits strong fanbase.
“We have great fan support,” Boyd said. “”They travel with us everywhere we go. It’s going to be a little different in Trustmark Stadium because there will be so many teams playing, but we know our fans will be in the stands cheering us on like they’ve done the whole season.”