• 70°

Madison Central baseball all over Oxford early, tie series and force a Monday rematch

OXFORD – Madison Central and Oxford are headed to a winner-take-all game three for their second-round playoff series.

The Chargers went on the road Friday, taking game one from the Jaguars by a score of 6-2. Saturday night at home was a different story. Madison Central blew out Oxford in game two, 14-1. The road team has won every game so far in series.

Everything that Oxford did well Friday at Madison Central simply was the opposite on Saturday.

”We were a different team Friday. We played defense, we hit and we pitched well,” said head coach Chris Baughman. “We did everything well last night that we did poorly tonight.”

Game two heated up quick and never really settled down. Inconsistent umpiring behind the plate marred the first few innings, with a handful of incredibly questionable ball and strike calls benefiting and hurting both teams.

After two, with the game tied 1-1, Madison Central blew it open and never looked back. The Jaguars scored five runs in the third before scoring two more in the fourth behind a home run that appeared to travel a good 400-plus feet.

Saturday was far from the cleanest day on the mound for Oxford starting pitcher Eli Wicker. Madison Central was all over Wicker early, tagging him for eight hits through four innings and drawing three walks. The Charger starter settled in after the home run, making it 5.0 innings and striking out five before being replaced by Cole Markle.

The lopsided final score could have been much worse. Wicker, to his credit, was able to pitch Oxford out of some early jams in the first and second inning. In the opening two frames combined, when the Jaguars were held to just one run, they left five runners stranded on base.

Entering the three-game series, Baughman emphasized the importance of playing clean baseball. Oxford knew they couldn’t give up anything to the Jaguars for free if they were to have a shot in the series. Saturday, that same thing came to bite them multiple times. The Chargers committed four errors in the opening three innings of play, seven in the game as a whole.

Madison Central’s starting pitcher Jacob Payne was nearly unhittable for the Chargers. He rode his fastball that was touching 85 and 86-mph all night, holding Oxford to just two hits over the entire evening.

”He was pretty good. That fastball is good. But it’s nothing we didn’t see last night,” Baughman said. “We just didn’t come ready to play.”

Oxford and Madison Central, now tied at 1-1 in the best-of-three series, will get Sunday to rest. They’ll play game-three on Monday night at Madison Central. The winner of Monday’s game will get 27-2 DeSoto Central in the playoff quarterfinals.