PERKINSTON — Mississippi Gulf Coast got a vital sweep Tuesday, beating Southwest twice at newly renovated Ken "Curly" Farris Field.
The Bulldogs (23-15, 12-10 MACJC) moved into a playoff spot with six regular-season games left after winning 8-5 in Game 1 and 11-1 in five-inning game shortened by the mercy rule.
"It was a good day for us, a big day," Gulf Coast coach Rodney Batts said. "We haven't talked too much about where we are in the standings until the last week or so. Our guys know where we are and what we have to do."
There's no state tournament this year, with the No. 1 team earning a berth in the District 23 playoffs. The next eight teams will square off in best-of-three series (2 vs. 9, 3 vs. 8, etc.), with the four winners advancing.
The second- through 11th-place teams were separated by only four games heading into Saturday's game. Gulf Coast started the day tied for 10th and finished tied for seventh.
Josh Lewis (Fr., Theodore/Theodore) had a big day, with a three-hit game in the opener. His solo home run leading off the sixth tied the score at 4 and launched a five-run inning.
"We need every win we can get," Lewis said. "It's coming down to the nitty-gritty and we're just trying to make the playoffs."
He added a single in the second game, joining Chase Rhodes (So., St. Stanislaus/Bay St. Louis) with four hits in the doubleheader. Rhodes had two in each game, with two doubles in the opener and a triple in the nightcap.
Lewis also played a smooth first base, making just his third and fourth starts of the season. He's started eight games on the mound, but Batts said Lewis has been the team's best defensive first baseman.
"I've been practicing all year, but I haven't gotten a chance to play," he said. "Now that I am, I'm making the most of my opportunity. It's good to be back out there and help the team win."
Gulf Coast returns to action Saturday when East Mississippi visits for the last home regular-season games. First pitch is set for 2 p.m., and the Lions are also 12-10 in the conference.
"To get in the playoffs, we control our own destiny," Batts said. "No matter what ever everybody else does, if we do what we're capable of doing and take care of business, we'll get in."
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