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Mississippi baseball team captures state title thanks to wild ‘Wichita pickoff’ double-bluff trick play

Cameron Smith
Prep Rally

There are very few pick off plays that haven’t been done ad nauseum throughout the different levels of baseball, to the point where they seem almost rote, even when successful.

This isn’t one of those plays.

What you see in the video above is, apparently, called “the ol’ Wichita pickoff.” The Wichita pickoff apparently consists of a remarkably brazen move where the pitcher fakes a pick off to second base, then has the shortstop point to the outfield as if trying to tell a confused outfielder where the ball was sitting.

Instead, the pitcher is still holding the ball, with the base runner suddenly caught if he dares think that the throw back to the bag did go awry.

Yet this particularly pickoff play was more than just a gimmick, it also came at a remarkably important point in a state championship series. The trick pickoff was used by Southaven (Miss.) senior pitcher Wyatt Short against Gulfport (Miss.) Harrison Central High during the opening game of the best-of-three Mississippi High School Activities Association Class 6A state title series.

In fact, the play came in the top of the seventh inning, with the unnamed Harrison Central runner standing on second base and representing a prospective go-ahead run.

Instead, Short’s timely pickoff thinking earned Southaven a huge second out in its final defensive frame, with Short retiring the following batter to get out of the inning. In the following half inning Nic Short delivered a walk-off groundout after Southaven had loaded the bases, giving the school -- and his brother -- a victory in the first game of the title series.

That win set the stage for a dominant remainder of the series for Southaven, which cruised to an 8-2 victory in the second game to earn the school a Class 6A crown.

And to think, it might have gone entirely differently if not for a “Wichita pickoff.” Who’d have thunk it?

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