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MHSAA Class 4A baseball playoff preview: Could Sumrall, West Lauderdale be headed for a rematch?

The Bobcats have been utterly dominant, but so have the defending state champion Knights

Now that the field is set, it’s time to take a look at the MHSAA Class 4A Playoffs. Here’s some teams and players to watch, a complete list of the first-round matchups.

MHSAA Class 4A Playoff Brackets

MHSAA Class 4A Round One

(All series start Friday night)

  • Mooreville (19-5) vs. South Pontotoc (13-12)
  • Yazoo City (NA) vs. Northeast Lauderdale (8-14)
  • Ripley (15-8) vs. Itawamba AHS (8-14)
  • West Lauderdale (19-6) vs. Clarksdale (NA
  • Senatobia (15-7) vs. Choctaw Central (8-13)
  • Corinth (14-14) vs. North Pontotoc (13-9)
  • Kosciusko (14-8) vs. Gentry (NA)
  • Pontotoc (22-6) vs. Caledonia (9-14)
  • Northeast Jones (12-9) vs. Lanier (6-12)
  • Columbia (19-8) vs. Pass Christian (3-10)
  • North Pike (17-7) vs. Newton County (8-19)
  • Stone (15-8) vs. Purvis (15-5)
  • Sumrall (25-0) vs. Moss Point (7-9)
  • Mendenhall (13-10) vs. Raymond (8-9)
  • Greene County (17-10) vs. Poplarville (17-7)
  • McComb (5-8) vs. Quitman (15-11)

The front runner

The default position in a wide open field would be to give defending 4A Champion West Lauderdale the benefit of the doubt, but what last year’s runner-up Sumrall has done this year is remarkable.

The Bobcats are 25-0 after wrapping up their undefeated regular season with an 11-0 win over Magee last week, and show no signs of slowing down.

Sumrall coach Andy Davis has an embarrassment of riches on the mound, with a four-man rotation that has combined to allow just 21 runs in 118.2 innings of work and struck out a stunning 38 percent of the batters they have faced.

It’s also worth noting that Sumrall senior Cade Dedeaux is having a remarkable season at the plate. He’s currently hitting .488, and could finish above .500 if he gets hot in the playoffs.

Best first-round matchup

Greene County and Poplarville is an interesting matchup for several reasons. First, it’s one of the few series this weekend that features two teams with a winning record.

Second, it’s a rare matchup between a team that finished fourth in its region (Poplarville in Region 7) and a team that finished first (Greene County in Region 8) that appears to be fairly even. The Hornets didn’t play poorly, they are just in an absolutely loaded region with Sumrall (25-0), Purvis (15-5) and Columbia (19-8).

Greene County is no slouch, either. The Wildcats have a great one-two punch on the mound with senior Conner West (7-0, 0.26 ERA) and junior Collin Pipkins (3-2, 1.34 ERA) and a lineup that has averaged nearly six runs a game.

Collision course

It’s baseball, so crazy things can and will happen. That said, unless someone knocks off West Lauderdale in the North and Sumrall in the South, we could be looking at a rematch from last year’s state championship in Class 4A.

Pontotoc (22-6) is a strong contender in the North, but the Knights (19-6) have seven everyday players who are batting .313 or better — four of which are hitting better than .400 — and they’ve hit 26 homers in 27 games.

We’re salivating over the potential matchup between that lineup and the Sumrall pitching staff, but we’ve got a long way to go before we can assume a rematch from last year.