Riley Maddox leads Jackson Prep past Jackson Academy; Patriots take 1-0 series lead in MAIS 5A semifinal series

JACKSON — Riley Maddox was a one-man wrecking crew.

The Ole Miss signee tossed a complete game on the mound and also had two hits at the plate to help lead Jackson Prep to a 4-1 win over rival Jackson Academy in Game 1 of the Semifinal Round of the MAIS Class 5A Baseball Playoffs on Wednesday night.

Game 2 is set for Friday evening at 5 p.m. at Jackson Prep. If necessary, Game 3 will follow.

“The thing about Riley tonight and this year is he comes out and throws a lot of strikes and gives you a chance,” said Jackson Prep coach Brent Heavener. “Early, he set the tone with his fastball and, when he needed to, with his curveball.”

Maddox scattered three hits, walked none and had 12 strikeouts to remain unbeaten on the mound at 10-0.

“Obviously, I was amped up (with it) being a playoff game, and the last time I pitched in this playoff game I lost it, so I had a chip on my shoulder,” Maddox said. “Established early with my fastball and my secondary pitches were working and defense played great behind me.”

Prep took an early 1-0 lead on a RBI sacrifice safety squeeze bunt by Mason Nichols in the top of the second inning.

With one out in the top of the third, Maddox launched a two-run double to left center to extend the Patriots lead to 3-0.

Maddox also had a single in the fifth inning to finish 2-for-4 at the plate.

“Mason did a great job there with the safety squeeze and was able to get that first run and Riley helped himself with the double and we scratched in another run,”Heavener said. “You give Riley three runs that’s pretty much what he needs. This was a great high school game and I thought Jackson Conn pitched really well.”

Thaxton Berch had a RBI fielders’ choice in the fifth to give the Patriots a 4-0 lead. Cy Craig had two hits for Prep (32-3).

“We played solid defense tonight and it’s never easy to come over here in the playoffs, so to get Game 1 is huge,” Heavener said. “We set the tone, and now we have Mason Nichols on the mound in Game 2 at home and we play good at home.”

Mississippi State signee Jackson Conn took the loss on the mound for Jackson Academy (18-15). He lasted six innings and gave up four hits, four earned runs and struck out eight. Simms Baker had an RBI single for the Raiders in the fifth inning to cut the Prep lead to 4-1.

“Two outstanding pitchers going at it,” Jackson Academy coach Parker Harris said. “Both did well, and Jackson got the short end of the stick. We made a couple of mistakes early and they capitalized. We get to play again on Friday and try it again.”

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