Logan Walters’ late-inning heroics help No. 3 PRCC salvage split at Northwest
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
SENATOBIA, Miss. — After dropping a tough game one 3-2, the No. 3 Pearl River baseball team was down to its final two outs in a pivotal MACCC matchup against Northwest and needed a hero.
With two runners aboard, Wildcat team captain Logan Walters (Petal) made his way to the plate, worked a 3-2 count and unloaded on an outside pitch for a clutch three-run seventh-inning homer and a 4-2 lead. The Wildcats closed the game in the bottom half of the inning to salvage a series split.
"I was pitched pretty tough all day today," Walters said. "I knew I had to step up in a big-time moment like that. I worked myself into an advantage count and figured I was getting a fastball. I caught the barrel, and it went out."
Pearl River coach Michael Avalon talked about the tough series.
"The four starters that went out for both teams today were very, very good," he said. "They're a tough team and are at home. These games were their last games here and they're fighting for the playoffs. The trip home will be better since we squeaked that one out."
Baserunners were few and far between over the first five innings of the day as a pitcher's duel between Pearl River (41-11 overall; 20-8 MACCC) starter Will Passeau (Mobile, Ala.; St. Paul's) and the Northwest (23-26; 11-17) starter took place.
The Wildcats finally broke through for two runs in the sixth. Jonah Katsaboulas (Pearl; Brandon) drove a single into left field and moved to second on a Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville) sacrifice bunt. Passeau brought him home with a line drive single into center field. Passeau eventually scored on a Ranger passed ball, 2-0.
Northwest didn't go away quietly, battling back with a three-spot in the bottom of the seventh to take a 3-2 lead.
Pearl River got its leadoff batter on base to begin the top of the ninth, but a strikeout and a double play helped NWCC take game one, 3-2.
Passeau finished with six innings pitched and one earned run. He scattered four hits and two walks while striking out four. Blake Hooks (Petal) recorded two outs, allowing two unearned runs on two hits and a walk. He struck out one Ranger. Blake Gollott (Saucier; D'Iberville) threw 1 1/3 innings and allowed just one hit.
Pearl River capitalized on a Ranger miscue in the first inning of game two. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) moved into scoring position on a double. Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) put a ball into play and an error was made by the NWCC pitcher, 1-0.
Northwest tied things at 1-1 in the bottom of the first on a sacrifice fly. In the third, the Rangers took the lead. After loading the bases, NWCC grounded into a fielder's choice to plate the run, 2-1.
That inning was the last time that Pearl River starter Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone County) found himself in trouble as he worked around a single in each of the fourth and fifth innings and tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning.
The Wildcats needed someone to step up in the top of the seventh inning and it was only fitting that the redshirt sophomore and team captain Walters was up for the task. A Soper walk and Perry single got two runners on base for the left fielder who sent the sixth pitch of his at-bat deep over the left field wall for a 4-2 lead.
Dennis trotted back out to the mound in the seventh to try and earn the complete game victory. The right-hander made the first batter pop out and struck out the next on six pitches. The Rangers worked a walk, but Dennis made the next batter line out softly to the shortstop to secure the 4-2 victory.
Dennis tossed a complete game, allowing two runs on six hits and two walks. He struck out seven Rangers in the contest.
Pearl River returns to Dub Herring Park on Thursday for game one of the MACCC Playoffs. The opponent and game time for the best-of-three series is still to be determined.
"We're looking forward to being at home. We need our crowd to come out and support these guys," Avalon said. "This will be their last time playing at The Dub. This is arguably the greatest sophomore class to ever come through Pearl River baseball. We need to have The Dub rocking this weekend and send them off the right way."
CASHLESS BOX OFFICE
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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.
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