The Germantown Mavericks baseball team hosted the Clinton Arrows on the school’s campus in Gluckstadt, Miss., on Monday, April 10, 2023.

By Robert Wilson
Photos by Chris Todd

       GLUCKSTADT – Germantown senior right-hander and Pearl River Community College signee JP Robertson had one of his roughest games last week in Game 1 of the three-game series with Clinton for the MHSAA Class 6A, Region 4 championship.

       Robertson walked three batters and hit two more and allowed four runs before first-year Germantown coach Chris Peden replaced him after two innings.

       Said Robertson: “I was trying too hard and overthrowing, not staying in the zone. It was a tough night.”

       Robertson found his stuff Monday night in Game 3.

       He threw a two-hit shutout with seven strikeouts to lead Germantown to a 10-0 victory over Clinton in six innings for the region title and the No. 1 seed in the 5A playoffs before an estimated 550 at Germantown’s field, known as the Ranch.

       Germantown improved to 19-4 overall and 8-1 in region play. Clinton dropped to 21-3 overall and 7-2 in region play. The teams split the first two games last week with both games going down to the seventh inning. Clinton scored two runs in the top of the seventh and Germantown scored four runs in the bottom of the seventh as Clinton held on for a 9-8 victory Tuesday in Game 1. Germantown scored six runs in the top of the seventh inning to win Game 2 10-8 Thursday at Clinton. Game 3 was scheduled for Friday, but rain delayed the game until Monday night.

       That delay gave Robertson more days to rest and to be ready for Monday night to pitch again and redeem himself for last week’s short pitching performance. Robertson was on and so were the Mavericks bats.

       Robertson allowed only two hits, a single by second baseman Takorre Clowers in the fourth inning and a single by senior centerfielder Bo Bland in the fifth inning. Robertson improved to 5-2 and lowered his earned run average to 2.00. He has allowed 19 hits in 35 innings with 52 strikeouts.

       “I was filling up the zone and throwing strikes while keeping the tempo up the whole game,” said Robertson, a member of the PriorityOne Bank/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Preseason Elite 11 Team this season. “The first thing the coaches told me today was if I fill up the zone, we will win.”

       “We worked on JP’s tempo and speeding him up in between pitches,” said Peden, who came to Germantown after six seasons as head coach at Ridgeland. “He pounded the zone and worked ahead better than he had all year. When he does that, he’s hard to hit and helps him get deeper into the game. JP was really good tonight and our offense swung it well all night. I’m really proud of our guys and their effort and fight.”

`Robertson hit a run-scoring single, senior first baseman and Meridian CC signee Hampton Ross followed with a RBI double and sophomore right fielder Jackson Estes with a two RBI home run for a 4-0 Germantown lead after one inning. The Mavs scored two runs in the second inning and one in the third inning for a 7-0 lead. Junior shortstop and Pearl River CC commitment Jackson Hood added a two-run home run and Robertson hit an RBI single for Germantown’s 10th run to end the game with the 10-run rule.

       The Mavs banged out 14 hits off three Clinton pitchers. Hood, who leads off, had 3 hits (home run, double and single), 3 runs scored and 2 RBIs. Senior centerfielder and East Mississippi signee Lawson Gardner had three singles and one RBI. Robertson and Estes had two hits each.

       Sam Temple, who coached at Hinds CC for 16 seasons, is trying to rebuild the Clinton program, which hasn’t won a state title since the 1990s. He was 15-11 in his first year last season at Clinton and has made dramatic improvement this season.

       “I’m very proud of my guys and we want to be in the region championship every year, but we want to win it,” said Temple, who won a state championship in 2001 while coaching at Warren Central. “Give Germantown credit. They are a talented team and played well tonight. JP threw really good. We played probably our worst game overall tonight, but we’ve made great strides this season. Our only losses are to (defending 6A state champion) Northwest Rankin and two to Germantown.”

       Both Germantown and Clinton will be playing in the 6A playoffs. Germantown gets a first-round bye while Clinton will play South Panola in the first round. Clinton defeated South Panola 8-3 in the second game of the season at Clinton. South Panola is coached by former Clinton assistant Hunter Mize.