On behalf of the month of May welcoming committee, I'd like to hand out a couple of awards, some well-deserved congratulations and a few words of warning to our local baseball teams.

First, to the Madison Central Jaguars - congratulations on a big playoff series win over Region 1 runner-up Horn Lake. I'll be the first to admit I didn't give Chad Davis' squad much of a chance against the Mustangs (14-14), but they scored 21 runs in the last two games of the best-of-three series to advance to the second round of the MHSAA 6A Playoffs.

The Jags (13-12) are hitting like a playoff team should, and if they can get similar pitching performances out of Hill Garbo (2-3) and Justin Milam (4-1) in the second round, they could be trouble for Region 2 winner Tupelo in another best-of-three series that starts today at Tupelo.

I wish I could say the same for Ridgeland (5-18), but Center Hill dealt the Titans a final blow with a 8-3 win in the decisive third game Saturday.

Coach Clint Wilkerson gets the courage award for playing one of the state's toughest schedules with one of the youngest teams in the MHSAA's 5A classification. Ridgeland will return 19 of its 23 players on the current roster next season, and only six of those 19 will be seniors, so the future is bright.

If it's any consolation (and I know it isn't), Center Hill's reward for ending Ridgeland's season is a second-round series with the 24-3 New Hope Trojans, who are beating the breaks off everyone they play.

To the Germantown Mavericks (21-7), who won Region 3-5A for the first time, we'll say good luck in the second round of the playoffs against Saltillo, who won 2-of-3 from Vicksburg over the weekend.

Coach Brian Hardy has built that program from the ground up, and he's done it he right way. The Mavs have split six games since wrapping up the district title back on April 12, with wins over Callaway, Ridgeland and 6A foe Terry, and with a loss to Northwest Rankin (23-4) and two losses to Clinton (24-5). Even though they may have lost half of them, those games against quality opponents should help prepare Hardy's club for the competition they'll face the rest of the way.

We'll also say good luck to St. Andrew's (20-7), who went 9-1 in district play to capture the Region 6-3A title. They'll face Raleigh after a first-round bye starting today in Ridgeland.

St. Joseph (15-9), which won a wild one 20-19 over 6A foe Murrah last week, will host Enterprise (20-6-1) starting today. The Bruins are district champs for the first time in 33 years, and I wouldn't bet against Miller Todd, who is arguably doing his best job as head coach in his final season at the helm of the program.

Jackson Prep and Jackson Academy are both heavy favorites in the MAIS AAA Playoffs, but don't count out MRA, who swept the Raiders in the final three games of the regular season last week to steal a playoff spot.

To stay alive, the Patriots (15-13) will need to continue their winning ways this week against a good Parklane Academy team that comes in 24-5 and winners of nine of their last 10.

Coach Allen Pavatte's team is another young squad, with just six seniors on a roster that lists 41 players, but they are no fluke. Since they were swept by Heritage Academy at the end of March, the Pats have gone 10-2 and won four straight best-of-3 series against AAA competition.