Wayne Academy forced a deciding Game 3 and rode the momentum against Central Private in Monday’s doubleheader following rainouts on Saturday.
The Jaguars won Game 3 8-1 after winning Game 2 5-3 earlier in the day and captured the Mississippi Association of Independent Schools Class AAA South championship series in the process.
Central held leads in both games Monday, but Wayne fought back each time. The Rebels led 3-0 in Game 2 and looked to be in a good spot with Trip Flotte, who had thrown a seven-inning shutout with 14 strikeouts in his last outing on May 3, on the mound.
Flotte had eight strikeouts in Game 2, but Waye scored three in the fourth inning to tie the game at 3-3. Flotte was done after 4⅔ innings after allowing three hits and three walks on 97 pitches.
Wayne took the lead with two more runs in the seventh to force a deciding game.
“(The win) really just gave us a chance,” Wayne coach Justin Ainsworth said. “One thing I’ve preached to our guys all week is really just go win Game 2. One thing about these guys is they never quit. We’ve been down 5-0, 6-0 early in games this year. These guys have battled hard and found a way to win.”
In Game 3, Central took a 1-0 lead in the first inning before Wayne responded with four runs, including a three-run double by Colton Coxwell, in the second inning.
Coxwell started things off in fourth inning as well. He drew a leadoff walk before stealing second and third base, and finally, scoring on a passed ball. Wayne scored three more runs in the inning on multiple passed balls and a single to take an 8-1 lead.
While Coxwell stayed hot at the plate and ended 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two walk, the opposite was true for Central’s lineup.
Wayne pitcher Ethan Rhodes threw six innings, allowing one unearned run on two hits and four walks while striking out nine.
“I think them winning that second game gave them a little bit of momentum,” Central Private coach Wes Theriot said. “Give credit to (Rhodes) that threw for them. We got two hits, and you’re not going to win many games with two hits.”
Central tried to make a run in the seventh inning and loaded the bases with one out, but it was too little too late. A strikeout and a groundout ended things for the Rebels, and their season came to a close.
Wayne moves on to the championship and will face Heritage Academy.