West Jones struck first Thursday night against Hattiesburg, but that lead would be short-lived. After the Mustangs went up 1-0 in the bottom of the third inning off Colson Harris’ sacrifice-fly, the Tigers answered with six consecutive runs, taking game one of the Class 5A South State Championship, 6-3, and handing West Jones (27-4) its first home loss of the season. 

Hattiesburg (23-10) will go for the series sweep and a state title series berth Friday night at Smokie Harrington Park. 

A two-run fourth inning and a three-run fifth allowed the Tigers to break Thursday’s game wide open. Ole Miss signee Joe Gray got the fourth started by making it all the way to third base on a West Jones error. Kam Wells then drove in Gray, and AJ Stinson followed with an RBI single to give the Tigers a 2-1 lead. 

In the fifth, Gray smacked his sixth home run of the year, a two-run shot which extended Hattiesburg’s lead to 5-1. 

Click on the link below to see Gray’s home run and hear from Hattiesburg head coach Joe Hartfield: https://youtu.be/a-wm3vYZfyQ

The Tigers added their sixth run in the sixth when Jay Reedy was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. 

West Jones put together a mini rally in the seventh inning, pulling to within three runs, 6-3, on a two-run double with two outs from Hayden Bryan. Hattiesburg starting pitcher Dexter Jordan remained in the game and then picked up his fourth strikeout to end it. Jordan improved to 6-3 on the mound with his complete game effort. 

West Jones starter Dustin Dickerson suffered his first loss, falling to 8-1 on the season. The junior struck out five Hattiesburg batters in 4 1/3 innings of work. 

Gray led Hattiesburg at the plate with three hits, while Stinson and Jaden Richardson each had two.