PEARL — Mission accomplished.
Behind a big fourth inning along with the pitching of Ranard Grace, Madison Central got past rival Northwest Rankin 11-1 in five innings Game 2 and to sweep the series and claim the MHSAA Class 6A State Championship at Trustmark Park on Saturday night.
It’s the Jaguars (34-2) fourth state title in school history and first since 2016.
“We knew what they were going to throw at us tonight and this is a such a special group of guys,” Madison Central coach Patrick Robey. “I’m glad this is over. We’ve had all these expectations and it’s been fun for everyone but me. My wife told me to just enjoy this because this is one in a life time group. So I’m going to enjoy it.”
Madison Central jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning on bases loaded walks by Connor Chisolm and Creek Robertson.
Northwest Rankin cut the lead to 2-1 on an RBI single by Brady Thomas.
The Jaguars added on two more runs in the second inning on a RBI groundout by Hunter Hines and a RBI single by Braden Montgomery to extend their lead to 4-1.
Ross Highfill added an RBI single in third to give Madison Central a 5-1 lead.
Madison Central then scored five runs in the top of the fourth to take a 10-1 lead highlighted by two-run double by Jackson Mize.
Creek Robertson had a RBI single to center in the fifth to give the Jaguars a 11-1 lead and put the ten-run rule in effect.
Ross Highfill had three hits to lead the potent Madison Central offensive.
“Yesterday we were struggling with pitching and tonight we stayed within ourselves and drove the ball the other way and we responded well tonight,” Highfill said. “It’s the biggest relief going through the season and getting everyone’s best arm. It was brutal and we got it done.”
Montgomery, Gatlin Sanders and Jake Cook had two hits each for the Jaguars. Montgomery, a Stanford signee, was named the series’ Most Valuable Player.
“It’s amazing. This is something we’ve built up to since September and being senior I’m going to enjoy every minute of it,” Montgomery said. “We used the bullseye all year as motivation. Means a lot and the bats woke up today and we knew what was at stake and we had to go get it.”
Ranard Grace (10-0) got the win on the mound for Madison Central tossing a complete game scattering five hits, one run, walked two and had three strikeouts.
“Ranard did a good job locating pitches, throwing strikes and defense made plays behind him,” Robey said. “Tip my cap to Northwest Rankin. They have a great team and return a lot back so they will really good next year.”
Luke Lycette took the loss on the mound for Northwest Rankin. The Cougars finish the season 27-9.
“They are the best hitting team I’ve seen in a long time and you give them a door and they bust it wide open and that’s what we did,” said Northwest Rankin coach K.K. Aldridge. “We battled well, but now we have a lot back returning to next year and we are setting a goal to get back here.”