Photo/James Pugh

Stringer’s first return to a 1A Championship baseball series in 23 years falls short.

The hero for Smithville in Game 1 on the mound turned out to the hero at the plate in Game 2. Mississippi State commit Jared Johnson homer in the top of the seventh inning late Friday morning that supplied the game’s solo run as Smithville defeated Stringer 1-0 at Trustmark Park in Pearl to give the Seminoles a sweep in the series. 

“The first Stringer team in 23 years [to make it here], that’s pretty cool,” said Stringer head coach Wade Weathers. “It was neat to get to this spot.”

Stringer, king of 1A baseball  in the ’90s, won titles in 1991, 1992, 1993 and 1996. The Red Devils fell two games short of another some two decades later. They finish the 2019 season, 24-11.

Senior ace Andrew Nix gave his team what was required on the mound, giving up just the one run on eight hits. 

“Andrew Nix always gives us what we need on the mound,” said Weathers. “He didn’t record a lot of strikeouts, but he lets the defense work behind him and holds [Smithville] to one run through seven innings. Every time Nix goes out, he gives us a chance to win. It was just bad luck losing today. He pitched his tail off for two years, and we love him for it.”

Stringer struggled at the plate, especially with runners in scoring position. They pushed runners into scoring position five times on Friday but left them all stranded. In the final bottom frame, with the bases loaded and two out, a pop fly to centerfield ended the threat and the game. Stringer managed only three hits. 

“I felt like we had a team that could get it done,” Weathers said. “But today we didn’t get the hits when we needed them. That’s baseball.”

Stringer fell to Smithville in Game 1, 4-2, behind the pitching of Johnson, who allowed just two Stringer hits, all of which came in the first inning. 

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