East Webster stays hot with late rally to take Game 1

PEARL – East Webster arrived in Pearl with all of the momentum in the world, but the Wolverines found themselves in a hole through five innings.

But East Webster found its groove again and scored nine runs in the final two innings of a 12-6 win over West Marion in Game 1 of the Class 3A finals at Trustmark Park on Tuesday. The Wolverines remain undefeated in the playoffs this year and are a win away from capturing a state title.

Game 2 is set for 1 p.m. on Thursday.

“We’ve won a lot of games this year, and we’ve won them in a lot of different ways, but it’s been a really long time since somebody punched us in the mouth and we had to respond,” East Webster head coach Blake Hutchison said. “There was no head drop, we didn’t flinch at all. We knew we could score the runs to get back in it, and that’s exactly what they did.”

East Webster (29-3) led 3-1 heading into the bottom of the fourth inning, and that’s when everything fell apart for the Wolverines. Two errors on the same play with the bases loaded and two outs allowed two West Marion runs to score. With the inning still going, West Marion (25-10) made the extra out count with three runs on two more hits to make it 6-3.

But East Webster went back to work in the sixth. The Wolverines drove in a run and loaded the bases. They regained the lead with runs off a walk, a fielder’s choice and a wild pitch.

“That’s just kind of the way this team is,” Hutchison said. “They’re a veteran bunch. We’ve never been on this level before, but we’ve played in some big games. They just don’t seem to let things get to them. They’re extremely loose, and they’re just confident. That’s just the way it just kind of shows on the field.”

The Wolverines piled it on in the seventh with a handful of insurance runs. Kaleb Warnock capped off a solid day at the plate and a five-run seventh with a two-RBI single. Warnock was 3 for 5 at the dish with three RBIs and a triple.

“Everybody’s hitting the ball and knocking the ball around the yard,” Warnock said. “It just puts no pressure on our pitchers.”

Extra Bases

Big Inning: East Webster scored four runs in the sixth inning to take a 7-6 lead.

Big Stat: The Wolverines have scored double-digit runs in 10 straight games.

Coach Speak: “Kaleb has been hot ever since the playoffs have started, man. He’s been on fire and had some huge hits today. Just super proud of him.” – Hutchison, on Warnock