NWR1

PEARL — Ryan Herbison wouldn't let the ball out of his hands.

Herbison tossed a complete game along with some timely hitting Northwest Rankin held off DeSoto Central 3-2 in the decisive Game 3 to claim the MHSAA Class 6A Baseball State Championship at Trustmark Park on Sunday afternoon.

It’s the Cougars (34-3) second state title in school history and first since 2005.

“Just so proud of my guys. They put forth a lot of effort and just constantly answered not just today, but throughout the year,” said Northwest Rankin coach K.K. Aldridge. “No one was going to make it easy for us and we didn’t make it easy for ourselves. We had the resiliency to answer back. What are guys did today was compete.”

DeSoto Central took an early 1-0 lead in the top of the second on an RBI single to right by Kristian Sprawling.

Northwest Rankin tied the game 1-1 in the bottom of the second as Christian Cameron scored on a pass ball.

The score remained tied until the bottom of the fifth when Southern Miss signee Nick Monistere hit an RBI double to deep left center to give Northwest Rankin a 2-1 lead.

DeSoto Central tied the game 2-2 in the top of the sixth on a RBI groundout by Josh King.

In the bottom of the sixth with the bases loaded and two outs, Herbison hit a ground ball to third, but Jaguar third baseman Ryan Moore’s throw was wide of the bag allowing the go-ahead run to score to give Northwest Rankin a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the seventh Herbison gave up a one-out double but got back-to-back strikeouts to end the game. 

Herbison (2-0), a Hinds Community College signee, tossed a complete game scattering seven hits, two runs, walked one and struck out five.

“I dreamed of this before and glad it happened and was able to finish. I’m a closer and I told coach I’m going as long as I can and gave all I had,” Herbison said. “Everyone on the team worked together for this and a good brotherhood to have, especially on a high school team. Proud of the way we came back and were able to finish the job.”

Monistere was named the Most Valuable Player of the series.

“I kept swinging over curve balls and was able to get a good swing on one middle in. We were down early and it was a dog fight all game long and glad we got the job done,” Monistere said. “I couldn’t be happier for us and now it is finished business. It’s been a long road, but glad to go out like this.”

Evan Rogers and Christian Cameron each had two hits to lead Northwest Rankin offensively.

“The seniors lead us to this point. They were a very special group and to watch them support each other and go to work every day and to see them win a state championship I couldn’t be prouder,” Aldridge said. “Constant effort and guys stepping up each game. These last two seasons have been stepping stone to be back to where we belong which is a championship program each year. This is the standard.”

Gavin Brassfield (5-1) took the loss on the mound for DeSoto Central. The Jaguars finished the season 22-12.

“Couldn’t be prouder of the guys for fighting. Didn’t want it to end, but they competed, and it hurts,” said DeSoto Central coach Mark Monaghan. “Gavin pitched well and we felt all along we had the best No. 3 pitcher in the state and never had to use him. He did his job, just couldn’t get it done. Nothing will change within our program. We will remember this feeling, handle adversity and we will be back.”