Tallulah Academy takes two from Briarfield to win baseball playoff series

Published 12:10 am Friday, May 3, 2024

Tallulah Academy went from the brink of elimination to one step closer to a state championship with an excellent day of baseball.

The Trojans beat Briarfield Academy twice on Thursday, 6-3 and 13-1, to win their MAIS Class 2A playoff series after dropping Game 1 earlier in the week.

Tallulah (22-9) won 6-3 in Game 2 of the series — the first of Thursday’s doubleheader — behind an outstanding pitching performance by Hayes Hopkins.

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The senior struck out 10 batters and only walked two in earning a complete-game victory. He did allow nine hits, but he worked around any trouble and his teammates gave him enough run support to stay a step ahead of the Rebels for most of the game.

J.T. McDaniel hit an RBI double and scored on another double by Hopkins to give the Trojans a 3-1 lead in the third inning, and they never trailed again.

Gage Palmer hit an RBI triple in the fifth inning, then Denton Ray hit an RBI double and scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth for a 6-2 lead.

Ben Coullard led off the seventh with a home run for Briarfield (9-6), but Hopkins retired the last three batters in order.

Coullard finished 3-for-3 with the home run, a triple, and three runs scored for Briarfield.

Game 3 of the series was Tallulah’s from the start. Palmer went 3-for-3 with a double, two RBIs and two runs scored, and the Trojans scored 11 runs in the first inning to win 13-1.

McDaniel had three RBIs and scored two runs, and also pitched a four-inning complete game to get the win.
Hopkins and Tripp Gayle had two RBIs apiece as well, and Brayson Morson scored three runs.

Tallulah Academy advanced to the Class 2A semifinals next week against Wilkinson County Christian Academy.
Wilkinson Christian beat Claiborne Academy 5-0 on Thursday to complete a two-game sweep of their second-round series.