BRANDON — Northwest Rankin hasn’t been known for offense lately.
That changed on Tuesday night.
In a game that had a combined six home runs, the Cougars outlasted Brandon 16-10 in a battle of unbeaten Mississippi high school baseball teams in Region 6-6A.
The two teams will meet again on Friday at Northwest Rankin.
“We came out and swung the bats really well and set the tone early in the first inning, and that’s always important to do in a big game like this,” said Northwest Rankin coach K.K. Aldridge. “Every time they had a comeback in them, we had an answer.”
Northwest Rankin (13-5, 5-0 Region 6-6A) started right off scoring four runs in the top of the first that was highlighted by a two-run double by Blake Summerlin and an RBI double by Brice Ainsworth to take a 4-0 lead.
The Cougars added two more runs in the third to take a 6-0 lead on a solo homer by Christian Cameron and Ainsworth’s second RBI double.
Northwest Rankin scored five runs in the fifth to take an 11-1 lead that was highlighted by a grand slam by Ryan Herbison.
Herbison added a two-run home run in the sixth inning to give the Cougars a 16-4 lead.
“Ryan isn’t your typical nine hole hitter,” Aldridge said. “He competes. He hits the ball well it’s just been right at people, but tonight he connected on two that got out of the yard.”
Ainsworth had three doubles with four RBIs for the Cougars.
Every batter in the Northwest Rankin lineup reached base at least once. Cameron, Brady Thomas and Evan Rogers had two hits apiece.
Southern Miss commit Nick Monistere (6-1) got the win on the mound for Northwest Rankin, lasting 5 1/3 innings and giving up three hits and three earned runs. He also struck out three.
“Nick pitched well. I don’t think he had his best stuff tonight,” Aldridge said. “We’ve been in a slump hitting wise and hopefully tonight this gives us a jump heading towards the end of the year.”
Brandon’s Kandin Williams had a three-run home run in the fifth and a grand slam in the sixth to cut the lead to 16-8.
Walker Hooks took the loss on the mound for the Bulldogs (16-6, 4-1). Wade Fulton had two hits and Jonah Katsaboulas had a home run in the seventh inning for the Bulldogs.
“We hit the ball really well tonight. We just didn’t get it done on the mound,” said Brandon coach Daniel Best. “They made us pay every time we missed our pitches. It’s baseball. Things like this will happen so we will see how we respond on Friday at their place.”