By Bruce Thornton
228Sports Contributing writer
Former Biloxi Head Baseball Coach Eddie Loftin began the Bash/Battle at the Beach a couple of years ago and now it has grown to one of the premier high school baseball tournaments in the South.
Lady Indian head softball coach Emily Todd is looking to match that success with year two of the softball version. Right at 30 teams from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana and across Mississippi are scheduled to play 50 games this weekend at Biloxi and Gulfport High School as well as the AJ Holloway Sports Complex in Biloxi.
Things got underway Thursday night with local teams going 2-1. Biloxi defeated Clinton 6-3 while Gulfport defeated Quitman 15-4. Ocean Springs dropped a 7-3 decision to Puckett.
Games kicked off Friday at 9:00 am with Bentonville, Arkansas taking on Germantown. Games involving local teams include Satsuma, Alabama taking on Vancleave and Sumrall taking on Bay High at the Biloxi Sportsplex while Germantown takes on Picayune and Gulfport takes on Slidell, Louisiana with both games at Gulfport High School.
Saturday East Central and George County will take on Alma Bryant, Alabama as well as the Lady Hornets taking on St. Paul’s, Alabama and the Lady Rebels matching up with Orange Beach, Alabama. Vancleave will also take on Orange Beach and the Lady Bulldogs and Gulfport match up with DeSoto Central as well. Orange Beach begins their triple header early Saturday morning with a 9 am matchup against Pearl River Central. St. Patrick matches up with Gulf Breeze, Florida, and St. Paul’s as well while Biloxi takes on Choctaw Central.
Class 6A division play got underway this past week with a couple of games as D’Iberville outslugged Pascagoula 18-7 in Division 7 play and Gulfport squeezed past Biloxi 5-3 in Division 8 play. Division 8 continues to be impressive in early season play. Hancock is off to a 9-1 start and knocked off Newton County 8-1 and 7-time defending 5A champion Neshoba Central 4-2 in 8 innings last Saturday in the Harrison County Tournament.
The Lady Hawks host Gulfport Tuesday night as the Lady Admirals are off to 12-3 start going into the weekend games after their thrashing of Quitman on Thursday. Harrison Central heads to Meridian this week for games against NW Rankin, West Lauderdale, and Florence. Coach Jimmie Parker’s Lady Red Rebels also boast an impressive 11-1 record following wins over Greene County and Choctaw Central. Harrison Central host Biloxi on Tuesday night and battle Gulfport Thursday. Biloxi has won three out of four to improve to 6-8 overall with the tough loss to the Lady Admirals last week.
In Division 8-5A play Thursday night the George County Lady Rebels improved to 12-1 on the season with an eight-inning 4-3 win over Vancleave. The Lady Rebels scored 2 runs in the bottom of the fifth to tie the game and Addison Davis’s RBI single capped a two-run rally in the 8th inning for the 4-3 win. Peyton Collins got the win in relief of Davis to improve to 7-0 on the season. Irina Sanford and Ashton Fairley each had 3 hits for the Lady Rebels while Kyleigh Howell had a solo home run that started the two-run rally in the fifth inning. Brooklyn Rhodes took the tough loss for the Lady Bulldogs as she went the distance. Skylar Stork led Vancleave at the plate with a double and two RBIs. The Lady Bulldogs are 10-3 overall and 1-1 in division play. Tuesday night they travel to cross-county rival East Central for a huge division matchup.