Coach Bart Jenkins was surprised Vince Hoyt got another swing Friday night.
But the senior did and he definitely made it count.
Hoyt, who had torched Canton Academy in the playoff series, nailed a walkoff home run in the bottom of the eighth to send Marshall Academy to the next round.
“He’s on fire,” coach Bart Jenkins said. “I don’t know why people continue to throw to him.”
The senior went seven for eight in the two-game series with two home runs. That followed four hits, including two home runs, in the Patriots’ first round sweep of Prairie View (La). He has 17 runs-batted-in thus far in the post-season.
And going a bit further back, Hoyt had eight hits in the last week of the regular season.
“Vince deserves it,” Jenkins said. “He and my other two seniors (Aaron McAlexander and Matt Rappa) are three of the hardest-working kids I’ve ever coached. Vince has worked himself into being a great hitter.”
Marshall fell behind 3-0 but rallied for the 4-3 win, thanks to the bat of Hoyt and pitching arm of Matt Miller.
Hoyt had four of MA’s five hits and knocked in all four runs. His double got the Pats on the scoreboard in the bottom of the first – cutting the deficit to 3-1.
Miller retired nine of 10 Panther batters in the second, third and fourth innings.
The Pats left the bases loaded in the bottom of the fourth.
But in the bottom of the fifth, Hoyt came through again. His hit drove in Dakota Dailey, who had walked, and Aaron McAlexander, who had singled. The game was knotted at 3-3.
It stayed that way until the extra inning, when Hoyt drilled the homer over the fence in right-center field and was mobbed by his teammates when he reached home plate.
Miller went the full eight innings to earn the mound win. He gave up eight hits, while striking out one and walking none. Four of Canton’s eight hits came in the first inning.
“Matt has been that good all year when he has had an ample amount of rest,” Coach Jenkins said. “He’s been consistent for us.”
Hoyt was joined by Dailey and B.W. Langston in the multiple-hit show as Marshall went on the road Tuesday of last week and pounded the Panthers 10-5.
MA had 10 hits in the game to Canton’s seven.
Hoyt had two doubles and a home run and four RBIs. His three-run homer came in the fourth and put the Patriots on top 9-0.
Dailey was three of five from the batter’s box and Langston two of four.
McAlexander went the distance and picked up the pitching victory. He struck out six, walked three and hit two batters.
Next up is a series versus Central Hinds for the north half championship.
The Pats (18-11) traveled to Raymond Monday. They host games two and three if needed) Thursday at 5 p.m.
It’s the third straight year MA has played for the north title – winning it last year and coming up short in 2011.
“This team is coming together,” Jenkins said.
“We run the bases extremely well. We just have to focus on putting the ball in play.
“My challenge this week is to get them to relax and play their best baseball.”
The winner of the Marshall-Central Hinds series will face either Central Private or Centreville next week for the Class AA state championship.
The Patriots fell to Centreville last year in the state title series.
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