PEARL — There will be at least one Game 3 at Trustmark Park this year.
Behind the stellar pitching of Matthew Taylor, DeSoto Central got past George County 5-1 in Game 2 of the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship series on Thursday night.
The decisive Game 3 will take place on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m.
“What can you say, he was outstanding for us,” said DeSoto Central coach Mark Monaghan. “He is an absolute true bulldog on the mound and was not going to be denied. He put the team on his back and carried us.”
The game was delayed by rain for 40 minutes but that did not bother Taylor one bit.
Taylor (8-2), a East Mississippi Community College signee, would toss a complete game two-hitter, giving up one unearned run, walking two and striking out 13 batters.
“Throwing the fast ball really well tonight and every now and then throwing a breaking ball to keep them off balanced,” Taylor said. “I knew I had to go out there and do my best. I just had to do my best to help force a Game 3.”
The Jaguars (28-9) would never trail and also would capitalize on three George County mistakes.
Kamren James led the game off with one his two doubles and scored on a groundout by Blaze Jordan to give DeSoto Central a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the fourth with the game tied at 1 the Jaguars would score two runs off a throwing error to take the lead for good at 3-1.
DeSoto Central would tack on two more runs in the seventh to cap the scoring.
“The biggest thing was having good approaches at the plate,” Monaghan said. “Last night we didn’t have bad approaches against a good arm and tonight we had to face another good arm. We had an aggressive approach and things worked out our way.”
James, along with Kyle Booker and Shemaar Stapleton, would have two hits each to lead DeSoto Central offensively.
“My approach the whole game was to focus on fast ball away. We knew this guy was a fast ball pitcher and just do as good as we could,” James said. “Our pitcher pitched his heart out and what a way to go out as a senior. I feel like we have a good shot in Game 3 Saturday.”
South Alabama commit Trevor McDonald (7-2) took the loss on the mound for George County.
The Rebels (27-5) got their lone run in the third inning on a bases loaded walk.