Eighth-grader Josh Banes held Prairie View scoreless over the final six innings and Jake Hale's two-run triple highlighted a four-run third inning as Central Hinds downed the Spartans 4-1 on a windy Tuesday afternoon.
Prairie View (10-6, 2-4) remains in contention for a playoff spot, but will need some help to finish second. First of all, the Spartans must win their final three conference games — two against Riverdale and one against River Oaks. Additionally, the Spartans need an assist from the first-place Cougars (16-6, 6-1), who host River Oaks on Friday in Raymond, Miss.
Prairie View got off to a fast start in Tuesday's game. Tristen Shanks served up a one-out, opposite field single to right and stole second base. Maclendon Sharp then raked a double high off the right field wall. Tagging up on the play, Shanks was held at third, but eventually scored on a wild pitch.
Josh Banes kept the Spartans at bay the rest of the way, despite allowing base runners in every inning.
Bunching together four of its five hits in the top of the third, the visiting Cougars broke through for four runs.
Alex Biggs poked a leadoff single to right and Bruce Agee beat out a bunt single to the right side, placing runners at first and second with nobody out and the top of the order coming up.
Given the bunt signal, Josh Banes fouled off the first two pitches. However, the pitcher's inability to get the bunt down worked to the Cougars' advantage as he rapped a game-tying single to left.
Up next, not only was Peyton Banes able to lay the bunt down, he was safe at first on a wide throw to the bag, leaving the bases loaded with still nobody out.
All three runners advanced on a passed ball, giving the Cougars a 2-1 lead.
With one away, cleanup hitter Jake Hale tagged a two-run triple to the right-center gap, just beyond the reach of a diving Shanks in right-center.
Prairie View lefthander Maclendon Sharp allowed only two base runners the rest of the way, but the damage had been done.
Josh Banes struck out eight and walked three in the complete game victory. The righthander also notched the win in relief in the Cougars' 6-5 decision over the Spartans on March 7.
Hale belted the big triple to lead the Cougars offensively and Josh Banes, Tanner Leggett, Biggs and Agee singled.
Shanks collected two singles as the Spartans out-hit the Cougars 7-5, Sharp and Matt Reed doubled and Chyenne Mayo, Andrew Jenkins and Levi Humphrey singled.
Sharp struck out three without issuing a walk in a losing cause.
Prairie View plays Claiborne at home on Thursday at 4 p.m. (JV) and 6 p.m. (varsity).
Page 2 of 2 - Notes: Central Hinds swept the competitive three-game series, outscoring the Spartans by a collective margin of 12-7. … The Cougars can clinch the MAIS District 3-2A championship with a win over River Oaks on Friday. … With rain in the forecast for Tuesday night, the varsity game was moved up two hours to 4:30 p.m.