Magnolia Heights baseball claims state championship
By Brad Greer
Just like Ford Motor Company rolls new cars off the assembly line, Magnolia Heights keeps winning championships.
For the seventh time in eight years, the baseball factory out of Senatobia hoisted up the MAIS Division 2 Class 4A state championship trophy recently with a two-game sweep of Hartfield Academy.
The Chiefs team is under the head coaching direction of Chris McMinn, formerly of Batesville, and with Ford Wilson of Batesville a member of the team.
After coming up short in their quest for an unprecedented sixth title in a row last season, the Chiefs simply reloaded in 2018 as they seem to do every year, compiling a 25-7 overall and 5-1 record in district play.
Magnolia Heights championship quest started out with a two-game sweep of Copiah 3-0 and 10-3 in the opening round before out-dueling Lamar School in the semi-finals.
The Chiefs cruised past Lamar 14-4 in game one of the best-of-three series at Meridian before the Raiders took game two, 6-5, to force a third and deciding game in which Magnolia Heights won 9-3.
“Although we had different young men come through for us at critical times throughout the season, our senior pitcher Braden Forsyth won all three opening round games in the playoffs. When you’re in a best-of-three format winning that first game is crucial,” McMinn said.
McMinn is in his 12th season at Magnolia Heights. He said wins over Bartlett, Tenn. and Madison Ridgeland Academy seemed to have set the tone for the season.
“Beating those two very good teams then going to Chattanooga and facing some of the top teams in the country seemed to show the guys that we could compete with anyone on our schedule,” said McMinn.
One team Magnolia Heights would love to get their hands on again is Jackson Prep, who captured the Division-1 Class 4A championship. The Patriots defeated Magnolia Heights 8-1 on a cold, rainy day in late February.
“We would love to face them again. They have an outstanding program year in and year out and it would be nice to get another shot at them for all the marbles,” said McMinn.
State title number six might be on the horizon next season as the Chiefs will lose only three seniors off this year’s roster.
Six Chiefs garnered post-season honors as Forsyth was named Player-of-the Year while McMinn received Coach-of-the-Year.
Other members of the first team All-State squad were Devin Fox, Dalton Freeman, Blake Miller, Ozzie Pratt and Trace Bufkin.