Hot bats, dominant pitching lead No. 2 Pearl River past Southwest
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
SUMMIT, Miss. — Just a few days since splitting its MACCC opener, the No. 2 Pearl River baseball team turned the tide in a big way at Southwest, outscoring the Bears 32-3 across a doubleheader. PRCC took game one 22-1 in eight innings and snatched the nightcap 10-2.
"That is a tough ball club," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "I know we swung the bats well today, but these scores aren't indicative of how these games were. They're especially tough on offense. They make you really work. I was proud of our effort on both sides of the ball today."
Right across the road from his old stomping grounds at North Pike High School, Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) turned in a doubleheader for the ages. In front of a crowd full of friends and family, the Tennessee signee went 5-for-9 with nine RBIs, five runs, two walks, two homers and a triple across the two games.
Alex Perry had a big day for the Wildcats
"I wasn't really sure how today would go," Perry said. "I knew that I had a lot of people coming to support me from my hometown. I had prepared well all week. I got some good at-bats, some good counts and it went really well for me. It really felt good to be back close to home."
Aided by an incredible start by Conner Ware (Madison; Germantown) and an offensive explosion from the Wildcats, PRCC turned in a dominant 22-1 victory in game one.
Southwest (11-14 overall; 1-3 MACCC) was the first team to blink on the day as Pearl River (22-4; 3-1) plated a run in the top of the first. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) drew a one-out walk before stealing second. On the fifth pitch of the at-bat for Logan Walters (Petal), the sophomore left fielder smashed an RBI double.
The Bears squared things up in their half. An infield single allowed the first runner to get on base. The next batter chopped a ball to second base but due to the runner being on the move, the ball went into right field for a single. Two pitches later, the runner scored on a passed ball.
A Parker Ryan (Madison; Jackson Academy) walk in the second came back to bite the Bears after Blaise Breerwood(Poplarville) lined an RBI single into center field for a 2-1 advantage. PRCC tacked on another run an inning later when Soper came around to score on a wild pitch. 3-1.
The Wildcats padded their lead with a big six-run seventh inning, going ahead 9-1. Marshall Phillips (Hattiesburg; Sumrall) got the rally started by reaching on an error. A Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) single was followed by a Soper walk to load the bases. Back-to-back walks by Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) and Walters brought in the first two runs. Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) laced an RBI single and Perry scored on a wild pitch soon after. Ryan drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and the final run of the inning came in after an error off the bat of Phillips.
The Wildcats really piled on an inning later, striking for a season-high 13 runs in a single inning. PRCC also hit three homers in the big eighth inning. With Broadus standing on first after a walk, Perry tucked a ball down the right field line. The Bears had Perry shifted which allowed him to cruise into third base for an RBI triple. Montz drove in a run with a single and Walters scored on a wild pitch.
Southwest opted to make a pitching change which prompted the Wildcats to bring Jonah Katsaboulas (Pearl; Brandon) in as a pinch hitter. The freshman greeted the new pitcher by smashing a two-run homer, the first of his Wildcat career. The offensive outpouring didn't stop there for PRCC. Soper picked up an RBI with a bases-loaded walk to bring up Perry who deposited a 2-0 pitch over the left field wall for a grand slam. Katsaboulas made it the inning of a lifetime a few batters later, smacking his second home run of the frame. The three-run homer made the score a remarkable 22-1.
Luke Lyon's (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) clean 1-2-3 eighth inning ended the game with a run-rule victory.
Ware finished with six innings pitched, striking out 10 batters against four hits, one run and one walk.
"His stuff was really good. He commanded the zone," Avalon said. "He got two strikes on the first couple of guys but didn't put them away. I told him that's when he had to take it to the next level. He's got a chance to be special. I'm very proud of him."
Blake Gollott (D'Iberville) worked around two hits and a walk in his one inning of work. Lyon closed out the game, picking up a strikeout.
Montz finished an incredible 5-for-6 in the game with two RBIs.
"I really felt good at the plate," Montz said. "I was seeing the ball extremely well today. It was good to just be out here playing the game that I love. I was trying not to put much stress on myself and just seeing the ball and hitting the ball."
Perry went 2-for-5 with five RBIs and Katsaboulas went 2-for-2 with 5 RBIs. Breerwood was 3-for-5 with an RBI in the game.
The Wildcats got off to another hot start in the first inning of game two. Back-to-back walks by Broadus and Soper set up a three-run blast for Perry. The homer marked his fourth of the year and second of the day.
Southwest cut the lead to just one run in the second, 3-2.
After a pair of Bear errors to begin the fifth, Triston Hickman (Wiggins; Stone County) laced a two-run double into right field for a 6-2 lead.
One inning later, the Wildcats brought two more runs across the plate. Perry reached on an error, Walters was hit by a pitch and Montz singled to load the bases. A balk was called on the Bears pitcher to bring in the first run before Katsaboulas grounded out to pick up the next RBI, 8-2.
Cooper Cooksey (Waveland; Bay) battled back from a tough second inning to earn the victory. The right-hander finished with five innings pitched and seven strikeouts against three hits, three walks and two runs.
"He turned a corner in the middle of the game. That's a sign of maturity and I was very happy to see him change a little as the game went on. I went out to him in the fourth inning and told him that I thought he was done, and he said "No, sir. I'll get the rest of this inning." Then he got us through the fifth."
Blake Hooks (Petal) tossed the final two innings of the night, allowing one hit and one walk while striking out three.
Perry's big game one carried over into the nightcap as he finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs. Soper and Montz each finished with two hits in the game.
Pearl River returns to Dub Herring Park on Saturday for a 1 p.m. doubleheader against Mississippi Delta.
Season and single-game tickets for Pearl River baseball are available now and can be purchased at PRCCAthletics.com/Tickets.
CASHLESS BOX OFFICE
To help improve traffic flow and fan experience, PRCC athletics box offices are cashless in 2022-23. Only credit and debit cards will be accepted at the box office. Fans are encouraged to beat the lines and purchase their tickets in advance.
Pearl River livestreams all home games for free at PRCCMedia.com. Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch the Wildcat broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" channel from their app stores.
Games can also be heard at WRJW 1320-AM, 106.9 FM and WRJWRadio.com.