PEARL — Joel Wilkinson wasn’t quite ready to hang up his cleats for this season.
The junior right hander was stellar on the mound as East Union held off a late Madison St. Joe rally to beat the Bruins 8-5 in Game 2 of the MHSAA Class 2A Baseball State Championship series at Trustmark Park on Friday afternoon.
The decisive Game 3 will be Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.
“I thought we swung the bats a lot better today,” said East Union coach Chris Basil. “St. Joe is a scrappy team. They don’t give up and we needed to swing the bats better to have a chance.”
Wilkinson (13-0) tossed a complete game giving up 10 hits, five earned runs, walking none and strikingout eight.
“Joel is a great athlete and is one heckuva baseball player,” Basil said. “He is one of the leaders of this team and has one bright future ahead of him.”
Ethan Hitt would have three hits and three RBI’s to lead East Union offensively.
With the game tied 2-2, the Urchins (29-7) would score five runs in the top of sixth highlighted by a two-run single from Josh Basil and a two-run double by Preston Crump.
“Ethan is only an eighth grader and is a great competitor,” Basil said. “We had to put some crooked numbers and when you do that you got a good shot at winning a ball game.”
Thomas Gentry would have two hits for East Union.
Eli Carter (7-4) took the loss on the mound for Madison St. Joe.
Wyatt Buck, Covey Lockhart, Brady Johnson and Grayson Guillory all had two hits for the Bruins (27-11).