Making its first playoff appearance since 2008, the Prairie View Spartans open a three-game series at home Tuesday at 5:30 p.m. against the Marshall Patriots. Game 2 of the best-of-three MAIS Class 2A series will be played in Holly Springs, Miss. on Friday at 5 p.m., with Game 3 to follow, if necessary.
Marshall (14-11), the District 1-2A champion, clinched its seventh straight conference title last week.
Prairie View (13-7) finished tied for second place with River Oaks in District 3-2A, but was awarded the playoff spot after winning the head-to-head series with the Mustangs.
Prairie View coach Dan Smart will send junior lefthander Maclendon Sharp to the mound against the Patriots in the series opener, with sophomore righty Tristen Shanks in relief.
Junior middle infielder Chyenne Mayo (.404), who is 6-for-8 in the past two games, leads the Spartans offensively, followed by Sharp (.400) and Shanks (.315).
Marshall coach Bart Jenkins said he was undecided on a Game 1 starter as of Monday morning. Jenkins will choose between senior lefty Aaron McAlexander, senior righthander Vince Hoyt or sophomore lefthander Tucker Fant.
McAlexander (9-2), a Northwest Community College signee, is the staff ace. An all-around athlete, McAlexander has had an outstanding career as a two-sport athlete for the Patriots. His career numbers include over 300 punchouts, a .400-plus batting average, 3,000 receiving yards and 32 interceptions.
Sophomore shortstop and leadoff batter Dakota Daily is batting .419 after earning All-State honors in basketball and All-District accolades as a quarterback in football.
Among the Patriots' other key players are senior pitcher/first baseman Vince Hoyt (.490, 32 RBI), senior third baseman Matt Rappa (.448, 3 HR), sophomore Von Watson (.472, 5 HR), junior outfielder D.W. Langston (.350) and junior designated hitter Josh Mask (.310), an All-District offensive tackle on the gridiron.
The Marshall-Prairie View series winner advances to play District 2-2A champion Canton next week.
Other first round series pairings include Simpson vs. Centreville and Lamar vs. Columbia.
Canton has a first-round bye along with Central Hinds, Kirk, Brookhaven and Central Private.