16-run frame pushes No. 1 Pearl River past Northwest
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Powered by a remarkable 16-run fourth frame, the No. 1 Pearl River baseball team run-ruled Northwest 18-8 in the first round of the Region 23 Tournament at Dub Herring Park. The victory sets up a matchup with Hinds tomorrow at 3:30 p.m.
"The hit by D.K. on the hit and run gave us some momentum," head coach Michael Avalon said. "That's a difference between this team and some of our teams of the past. That's something that we're able to do this year to put some pressure on folks and get us going. We put pressure on them and were able to get around the bases. This is a big win. Getting that first one out of the way is huge for our program and this tournament. I'm very proud of our guys."
Northwest (26-23 overall) got things started quickly in the top of the first as the second batter of the game blasted a solo shot over the left field wall to give them a 1-0 lead. A few batters later, the Rangers hit a high, tailing fly ball that bounced off the warning track for a two-run double, extending the NWCC lead out to 3-0.
Pearl River (37-10) battled back to cut the deficit to 3-1 in the bottom of the second inning. Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) drew a four-pitch walk before advancing to second on a wild pitch. D.K. Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) moved him to third base with a sacrifice fly. Logan Walters (Petal) brought him home by sneaking a double down the left field line.
The Rangers padded their lead in the third inning, belting a solo homer to make the score 4-1.
The Wildcats turned in the inning of the year in the bottom of the fourth frame, batting around twice to push across an unbelievable 16 runs. The offensive outburst made the score 17-4. Montz was hit by a pitch to open the inning. After breaking for second on a steal attempt, Donaldson chopped one through the infield, allowing Montz to make it around to third base. Matt Mercer (Richton; Petal) then hit a towering fly ball off the center field wall for an RBI double. Walters pushed across a run shortly after with an RBI single and advanced to second on the throw into the infield. Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison) was then hit on the foot to reach base. John Griffin Bell (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) chopped a ball to the second baseman for an RBI fielder's choice. Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison), Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) and Montz each walked, plating two runs and making it a 7-4 ball game. Donaldson then crushed a two-run double into the right-center field gap to extend the Pearl River lead out to 9-4. Mercer looped a ball just in front of the crashing left fielder to give the Wildcats their 10th run of the contest. A Walters single followed by a Griffin groundout gave Pearl River a 12-4 lead over the Rangers. Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) drew a walk to load the bases before Parker drove a double off the left field wall to clear the bases and make the score 15-4. Perry capped off the inning with a bang, crushing a two-run homer to push the lead out to 17-4.
The Rangers were able to plate four runs on a grand slam in the fifth inning to keep the game from ending in a run-rule, but a Walters RBI single in the bottom half of the frame put an end to the contest, 18-8.
BY THE NUMBERS
Walters led the way offensively, going 4-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored. Donaldson finished the contest 3-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Logan Walters (Petal) finished 4-for-4 with four RBIs and two runs scored in Pearl River's 18-8 run-rule victory over Northwest in game one of the Region 23 Tournament at Dub Herring Park.
"I was seeing the ball well and having fun out there," Walters said. "I got some good pitches to hit and put good swings on them. I want to give credit to the guys in front of me. I was able to hit with runners on base a lot today."
Mercer and Broadus each finished with two hits.
Turner Swistak (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) earned the win after tossing 4 2/3 innings while allowing eight hits, seven runs and two walks. He struck out four batters. Ryan Burt (Columbus; New Hope) pitched 1/3 of an inning, giving up one hit and one run while striking out one.
The Wildcats return to action tomorrow in a winner's bracket game against Hinds. The game is set to get underway at 3:30 p.m.
Tickets are $12 per day. Kids 10 and under are free. Tickets and passes can be purchased by visiting PRCCAthletics.com/tickets.
Pearl River has re-launched its tournament central page for this season's Region 23 Tournament. It can be accessed at PRCCAthletics.com/Region23 and will be the home for all tournament information, including livestreams, photos, brackets, directions and more.