By Robert Wilson

Blake Summerlin has worked his way back into the starting rotation at Northwest Rankin this season, and last week he had his best pitching performance of the season.

The senior right-hander and Jones County Community College signee threw a no-hitter with 14 strikeouts to lead Northwest Rankin to a 5-0 victory at West Harrison to sweep the best-of-three MHSAA Class 6A first round series. 

Summerlin, who also plays first base and right field, hit .500 (2 for 4) with two runs scored and one runs batted in and an .714 on base percentage in two victories over West Harrison.

Photo Credit: Melissa Rogers

For his outstanding performance last week, Summerlin has been named the Two Men and a Truck/Mississippi Scoreboard Metro Jackson Baseball Player of the Week.

Summerlin, who had arm issues earlier in the season, has a 3-1 record with a 1.93 earned run average with one save and 43 strikeouts in 32 2/3 innings. He also is hitting .293 with 22 runs, 19 RBIs, 10 doubles and 1 home run for 23-6 Northwest Rankin going into this week’s 6A second round series against D’Iberville.

“Blake is a vital part of our success,” first-year Northwest Rankin coach K.K. Aldridge said. “On the mound, Blake has done great and is starting to have an impact we expected out of him this year. Early on in the year, he was having some arm issues, so we didn’t throw him as much. We worked Blake back into the starting role a few weeks back and he seems to be getting better each outing. He was lights out in his performance Friday night against West Harrison. Blake pounded the zone and really kept their guys off-balance.

“He hits in the three hole and has swung it better than his average shows. At the beginning of the year, he was hitting the ball well, but just right at people. He started pressing a little bit but has really settled in over the last several weeks.”