No. 1 Pearl River responds emphatically to force decisive game three
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
ENID, Okla. — Off the back of Dakota Lee's (Purvis) incredible pitching and an offensive explosion, the No. 1 Pearl River baseball thumped No. 2 Madison 19-1 Friday at David Allen Memorial Ballpark to force a decisive game three for the DII National Championship. Saturday's finale will get underway at 2 p.m.
"It's been a long week and yesterday was a long day," head coach Michael Avalon said. "I thought there was a difference tonight from last night. That difference was our focus and our energy. That's what we have to have. There's nothing I should have to say tomorrow. We get to put on our golds and play for a National Championship. Regardless of what happens, I want these guys to know I am proud of them. I'm going to play free tomorrow knowing that they've accomplished a lot. They've made our college proud.
"This is every kid's dream to play in a National Championship. I'm thankful that these young men get to do it because they one hundred percent deserve it. I think they'll be ready for it."
HOW IT HAPPENED
Pearl River (43-10 overall) was on fire right from the start of the contest, giving starting pitcher Dakota Lee (Purvis) a 4-0 lead to work with in the top of the first. John Griffin Bell (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) and Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) each drew walks to get the game underway. After Bell advanced to third on a wild pitch, Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) drove a single into center field to bring him home. Broadus was able to cross home plate shortly after on another wild pitch. D.K. Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) added to his RBI total afterward driving in Parker with an RBI double. Matt Mercer (Richton; Petal) collected the last RBI of the frame, bringing home Alex Perry(McComb; North Pike) on a groundout.
Madison (49-10) sliced the lead to three runs at 4-1 off an RBI single, but it was all Wildcats from there as Lee settled in and the offense exploded.
A Wildcat run crossed the plate in the third inning thanks to heads up baserunning. Donaldson and Mercer drew back-to-back two-out walks and Donaldson swiped third base. Mercer purposely got caught in a rundown to draw a throw to second base. When the catcher threw the ball, Donaldson dashed home to score a run and make the score 5-1.
PRCC added on a pair of insurance runs in the fourth to take a 7-1 lead. Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) worked his way into a 3-1 count before hitting a laser of a home run over the right field wall. Logan Walters (Petal) drew a walk and eventually came around to score on a Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison) double.
Alex Perry swing that resulted in a homerun in Game 2.
The Wildcat offense really hit its stride in the fifth inning of the night, pushing across an incredible seven runs to push the Wildcat lead out to 14-1. Perry set the tone for the inning right from the start by belting the third pitch of his at-bat deep over the left field wall for a solo homer. The blast was the third baseman's 16th long ball of the year. The Wildcats then loaded the bases for Woodcock who brought home Mercer with a sacrifice fly. Not long after, a passed ball allowed Montz to score from third base. Broadus tallied the next RBI after chopping a ball into the hole that the Wolfpack shortstop was unable to make a throw on. Parker drew a walk and Perry collected two RBIs, dropping a single into right field that allowed Bell and Broadus to score. The final run of the big frame crossed after more smart baserunning from the Wildcats. With Parker standing on third base, Perry took off on a delayed steal, getting caught in a rundown in the process. Perry was able to avoid getting tagged out long enough for Parker to touch home plate.
The seventh frame of the night saw the Wildcats plate two more runs as Donaldson roped a ball into right field to bring home a pair of runs and extend the lead out to 17-1.
PRCC added on a run in each of the eighth and ninth innings thanks to sacrifice flies by Broadus and Preston Soper(Madison; Germantown). The runs gave the Wildcats a massive 19-1 lead.
A solid ninth inning on the mound from Mason Smith (Laurel; Northeast Jones) and Parker Harrington (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) put an end to the game.
BY THE NUMBERS
Lee was incredible yet again for the Wildcats, moving to 2-0 in the World Series. He finished his stellar night with six innings, giving up one run and scattering six hits and four walks. He struck out four batters.
"He answered the bell again. The kid is tough, tough, tough," Avalon said. "When he came out of the game I teared up a little out there. He's a tough kid. He's matured so much and that's not easy what he did. I'm glad he's a Wildcat."
Byrion Robinson (Brookhaven) threw two innings, giving up one hit and one walk while striking out one batter. Smith (Laurel; Northeast Jones) recorded two outs, walking one and striking out one. Harrington recorded the final out of the ball game.
Donaldson led the way on offense, finishing the night 3-for-4 with three RBIs, two walks and two runs scored. Perry went 3-for-5 with three RBIs, three runs and one walk. Parker finished 3-for-5 with three runs, one RBI and one walk. Mercer, Montz and Woodcock all had two hits.
Tickets are $10 per day or $5 per day for students. A tournament pass can be purchased for $50. Children 10 and under will be admitted free of charge.
All games will be livestreamed at NJCAATV.com for a fee. A day pass is $10 and a tournament pass is $25.
The games will also be broadcasted live at WRJWRadio.com, 106.9 FM or 1320 AM.