PEARL — Tonight, Booneville can party like its 1999.
Behind a stellar offensive performance and relentless hitting, the Blue Devils raced past Magee 12-4 in Saturday's decisive Game Three to claim the MHSAA Class 3A State Championship at Trustmark Park.
It is Booneville’s second state title in school history and first since 1999.
“We got a large group of seniors (12) and we've talked before about what it takes to win these types of games," Booneville coach Kevin Williams said. "This was four years of hard work finally coming together. These guys never had any doubt after the setback in Game One. We felt good coming into Game Three with the depth of our pitching.”
The Blue Devils got the hit parade started early.
After the first three batters got on via a walk and two hit-by-pitches, John Daniel Deaton laced a fly ball over the head of Magee centerfielder Chandler Pittman's head for an inside-the-park grand slam that gave Booneville a 4-0 lead.
“I knew I hit it pretty well," Deaton said. "But the wind was blowing in and it kept going, and I was able to make it home. We were smoking the ball today and timing the pitcher well. Coach told us to be aggressive at the plate, and that’s what we did.”
Every time Magee tried to get back in it, the Blue Devils (26-11) had an answer.
After the Trojans got a run back in the bottom of the first, Booneville extended its lead to 6-1 in the second on a wild pitch and sacrifice fly.
When Magee cut the lead to 6-3 on a two-run home run by Brennon McNair in the bottom of the third, the Blue Devils responded with four runs in the fourth — highlighted by Bryce Lindsey's two-run single — to take a 10-3 lead.
Booneville added a run in the sixth and seventh to put the game away.
Ben Davis (8-3) got the win on the mound for the Blue Devils. The lineup pounded out nine hits and benefitted from seven walks and four bean balls. Ben Sandlin and Hayden Donahue both had two hits to lead Booneville offensively, but every starter either recorded a hit or walk, scored a run or brought one home.
“Ben pitched like a veteran and had good stuff today and did a great job,” Williams said. “He hadn’t pitched much in the playoffs, and we felt good about our pitching going into Game Three. Offense came through today and that’s what we needed.”
Jordan Magee took the loss for Magee. Pittman had two hits for the Trojans (28-7).
“We didn’t attack the zone," Magee coach Allen Eubanks said. "You can’t walk as many as we did, and they got a big hit early. That's life — we didn’t play well today and they did.”
(All photos by Keith Warren)