Onto Trustmark Park.
Behind the pitching of Cooper Smith and some timely hitting, Lewisburg got past Ridgeland 8-3 to clinch the MHSAA Class 5A North State Championship series Friday night at Ridgeland.
The Patriots (26-7) will face Hattiesburg for the Class 5A State Championship next week at Trustmark Park in Pearl.
Game one of the series will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. and game two will be Thursday afternoon at 1 p.m.
A possible game three will be played Saturday at a time that will be determined at the completion of the second games of each series in the six-class finals.
“We knew Ridgeland was going to come in and fight and we knew we had to get runs early tonight. We did that,” said Lewisburg coach Rusty Cagle. “Can’t say enough about Cooper Smith tonight. He did outstanding and now we’re on to play for a state championship.”
Smith (1-2), a junior righthander for the Patriots, got his first win of the season on the mound. He lasted five and a third innings, gave up three hits, one unearned run, walked one and struck out three.
“He’s been working on his way to getting back into the groove,” Cagle said. “His off speed was working well for him tonight, he threw a fast ball when he had to keep them off balance and got us five solid innings.”
In the middle of the season Smith had mono and missed three weeks.
“I just knew they were going to be aggressive at the plate and tonight my off speed was working,” Smith said. “Last week against Germantown was my first good appearance and tonight was my first good start, so I’m still getting back into things.”
The Patriots would never trail and scored at least one run in every inning except the third and fourth inning.
The first big blow was in the top of the fifth when the Ridgeland outfielder would lose two fly balls in the lights off the bats of Bryce Brock and Landon Wilkerson that would lead to two Lewisburg runs and increase the lead to 4-0.
The Patriots would tack on two more runs in both the sixth and the seventh to pull away.
All of Ridgeland’s runs came in the bottom of the sixth.
Lewisburg is making its second ever appearance in the baseball state championship and first since winning the Class 4A state title in 2013.
“This is what you dream about as kid is to play for a state championship,” Bryce Brock said. “I saw my older brother play for a state championship twice and now I can my senior year is just awesome.”