POPLARVILLE – The cards fell right for Pearl River Community College Sunday, and as a result the Wildcats earned the right to raise another championship banner.
PRCC took care of its business on Sunday, sweeping a doubleheader from Coahoma at Clarksdale, 12-2 and 10-0, then got the help it needed from Meridian, as the Eagles swept Jones County, also Sunday, 16-8 and 13-12 at Meridian.
Seventh-ranked Pearl River (37-9 overall) finished atop the MACJC standings at 23-5, one game ahead of Jones and two games ahead of Meridian.
The state title also comes with a bye through the first round of the MACJC playoffs, and the Wildcats will go directly to the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament, which begins May 16 at LSU-Eunice.
The Wildcats made short work of the Tigers in both games, winning both via the run rule, five innings in the first game and six innings in the second.
PRCC spotted Coahoma an early 1-0 lead after the first inning of Game 1, then went to work at the plate, scoring two runs in the second on a two-run home run by freshman Wiley Cleland (Columbia), after freshman Shemar Page (Raleigh) singled with two out.
The Wildcats broke the game open in the third, scoring five runs on four singles, a double and a hit batter. Freshman Luke Harper (Meridian) and redshirt freshman Matt Taylor both singled to lead off the inning, and sophomore Derek Eberly (Blountstown, Fla.) was hit by a pitch to load the bases. Sophomore Simon Landry (Ponchatoula, La.) drove in a run with a groundout, freshman Noah Barron (Hoover, Ala.) drove in two runs with a double, and Page and Cleland each had RBI singles.
The Tigers got a run in the bottom of the third with one out on a double and a single, but Page got the last two outs to minimize the damage.
PRCC added two more runs in the fourth and three in the fifth to put the run rule into effect.
In the fourth, sophomore Scooter Ginn (Columbia) led off with a walk, stole second and scored after a double by Harper and an error on the play that allowed Harper to take third base. A sacrifice fly by Taylor drove in Harper.
In the fifth, Landry and Barron singled to start the inning. Page drove in a run with a single and two runs came home on an error on a ground ball to the pitcher.
Page (10-1) worked three innings, allowed three hits, struck out five and walked one.
Freshman Colin Danley (Lucedale) struck out four in the final two innings and allowed just one hit.
The Wildcats kept up the onslaught in the second game.
Sophomore Bryson Medious (Columbia) smacked a one-out solo homer in the top of the first to open the scoring, and the Wildcats added another run in the inning when Eberly walked, took second on a passed ball, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder’s choice.
PRCC added three more runs in the third. Medious led off with a walk, stole second and scored on a single by Eberly, who quickly stole second and scored when the throw from the catcher sailed into centerfield. Page followed with his second homer of the season.
The Wildcats kept the pedal to the medal in the fourth, scoring three runs and added a run each in the fifth and sixth.
In the fourth, freshman Magruder O’Bannon (Long Beach) led off with a walk, went to second on a single by Taylor and scored on a double by Medious. Eberly and Landry followed with RBI singles.
In the fifth, Ginn drew a walk to open the inning, went to second on a wild pitch, took third on a passed ball and scored on a sacrifice fly by Taylor. Barron led off the sixth with a double, went to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Page.
Sophomore Drake Nightengale (Sumrall) pitched three innings to earn the victory. Nightengale (3-0) allowed two hits, struck out five and walked one.
Freshman Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko) pitched two innings, allowing one hit and sophomore Luke Bradley pitched the sixth, allowing a one-out single then inducing a game-ending double play.
Pearl River players and coaches pose in front of the scoreboard at Dub Herring Park Sunday night to celebrate the Wildcats’ winning the MACJC state championship.
(Photo courtesy of PRCC Baseball)
PRCC BASEBALL LINESCORES
Sunday at Clarksdale
Pearl River 12, Coahoma 2
PRCC 025 23 – 12 11 0
CCC 101 00 – 2 4 3
PEARL RIVER (36-9, 22-5 in MACJC): Matt Taylor 1B; Simon Landry 1B; Noah Barron 2B, 1B; Shemar Page 3 1B; Wiley Cleland HR (2-run), 1B (3 RBIs); Luke Harper 2B, 1B. WP – Shemar Page (10-1).
COAHOMA (23-22, 11-16 in MACJC): Joe Gee 2B; Hector Torres 3B, 1B; Kyler Johnson 1B. LP – Austin Pace (2-2). Also pitching – Justin Fisher; Jerod Bronson.
Pearl River 10, Coahoma 0
PRCC 203 311 – 10 10 0
CCC 000 000 – 0 4 2
PEARL RIVER (37-9, 23-5 in MACJC): Matt Taylor 1B; Bryson Medious HR (solo), 2B, 1B; Derek Eberly 2 1B; Simon Landry 1B; Noah Barron 2B; Shemar Page HR (solo); Luke Harper 1B. WP – Drake Nightengale (3-0). Also pitching – Jerod Meggs; Luke Bradley.
COAHOMA (23-23, 11-17 in MACJC): Hector Torres 3B, 1B; Zac Gilder 1B; Christopher Pittman 1B. LP – Rafael DeLeon (6-5). Also pitching – Wyatt Bailey; Luke Hobson.