No. 3 Pearl River puts on offensive show in sweep at Southwest
SUMMIT, Miss. — If No. 3 Pearl River was feeling down after Sunday’s split at No. 11 Itawamba, it sure did not show it. The Wildcats went on the road and belted seven home runs and plated 37 runs in a sweep of Southwest. They claimed the first game 23-11 and took the nightcap 14-1.
“I think we scored in every inning all day. I don’t know that I’ve ever done that in my career, so I’m very proud,” said coach Michael Avalon. “Our hitters stayed within themselves throughout the day. They didn’t get too big, and that’s special. This group has a lot of talent. When they control their body and swings, good things happen.”
In a game that looked like it was going to be a battle after one inning, Pearl River (27-7 overall; 17-5 MACCC) poured it on late to run-rule Southwest (5-23; 4-16), 23-11.
The Wildcats pounced on the Bears quickly in the first. Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) brought home the first runs of the contest by way of a three-run opposite-field homer. Von Seibert (Mobile, Ala.; Daphne) grounded out to bring another home. Dalton Cummins (Seminary) was caught in a run-down but avoided being tagged out long enough for Matt Mercer (Petal) to make it home, making the score 5-0.
Back-to-back doubles by the Bears in the bottom half of the first made the score 5-4.
PRCC put up another crooked number an inning later, plating five more runs. The Wildcats loaded the bases and Seibert was hit by a pitch for the first run. Cummins followed it up by drawing a walk to bring another home. A two-run single by Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) made the score 9-4. A sacrifice fly by Nick Skaggs (Biloxi) made the score 10-4.
A pair of singles by Mercer and Cummins made the score 12-4 in the third.
Southwest made the score 12-5 in their half of the third on a single.
The Wildcats built on their lead in the fourth after Graham Crawford (Sumrall) launched a two-run shot over the right field wall to extend the lead, 14-5.
SMCC had a big inning of its own in the fourth, pushing across six runs to make the score 14-11.
The Wildcats quickly got those six runs back by plating nine runs in the fifth. Seibert blasted his ninth homer of the year after a Mercer walk to make the lead 16-11.. A single by Skaggs followed by a walk from Crawford plated two more runs to put the Wildcats on top 18-11. Parker wrapped up a four-hit game by driving in a run on a single. Crawford soon came in to score on a wild pitch making the score 21-11. The last two Wildcat runs came in on a Seibert single.
A clean fifth inning on the hill from Eric Newsom (Madison; Germantown) gave the Wildcats the run-rule win, 23-11.
Reid Reynolds (Heidelberg; Northeast Jones) earned the start on the mound, throwing two innings and allowing five runs. He struck out two. Jacob Scherer (Mandeville, La.; St Paul’s) threw one inning in relief, allowing four runs while striking out one. Trace McNabb (Foxworth; West Marion) pitched an inning allowing two runs. Newsom earned the win, pitching one inning allowing no hits while walking one and striking out one.
Tate Parker led the team in hits with four hits in Game 1.
“It was a relief for me to get going early,” said Parker. “I’ve been struggling the past couple of games. I took a first-pitch breaker, and I hit it out. It was a pretty good feeling. It’s good to see hard work pay off.”
Skaggs and Mercer had three hits each. Four more Wildcats had two hits. Seibert led the team in RBIs with six, and Parker had five. Mercer and Cummins each walked twice.
The second game of the day started almost identically to the first, with Parker hitting a home run. This ball, however, did not leave the yard. A line drive to center field smacked the bottom of the wall and allowed him to sprint all 360 feet for a two-run inside-the-park home run making the score 2-0.
PRCC added a run in the second when Izzio came home on a passed ball to extend the lead, 3-0.
Cummins blasted a three-run shot in the third to double the Wildcat lead, 6-0.
Pearl River added six to the run column in the fourth to go ahead 12-0. John Griffin Bell (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) got the scoring started with a solo homer over the left field wall. A few batters later, Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) laced a two-run double. Cummins brought him in on a single. Newsom snuck a ball down the left field line for a two-run double.
Southwest brought one run home in the fourth on a single to make the score 12-1.
A two-run home run from Crawford gave the Wildcats a 14-1 lead, and that was all that they needed to claim their second run-rule victory of the day.
The reigning MACCC Pitcher of the Week, Landon Gartman (Bogue Chitto; Enterprise), earned the win on the mound. He threw four innings, allowing just three hits and one run. He struck out eight batters.
“He’s the backbone to our arms,” said his batterymate, Crawford. “Every time that he comes out, everyone has confidence that he’s going to go out there and do his job. Even if his stuff isn’t good, he’s going to compete and get the job done.”
Ryan Burt (Columbus; New Hope) pitched the last inning of the game, allowing one hit and striking out two.
Crawford went 3-for-3 to lead the team in hits. Five Wildcats tied for second with two hits each.
Cummins led the team in RBIs with four.
The Wildcats will return to action on Sunday as they host Mississippi Delta. The games will begin at 2 p.m. and will be streamed at PRCCMedia.com/Gold. You can also follow along on WRJWRadio.com . The doubleheader will start a six-game home stretch that will wrap up the regular season.
NEXT-LEVEL WILDCATS Landon Harper (Lauderdale; Northeast Lauderdale) announced his commitment to The University of Southern Mississippi on Thursday, making him the 12th Wildcat to commit to or sign with a four-year university.
He joins Delta State commits McNabb and Cummins, Tennessee Tech commit Newsom, Mississippi State commit Seibert as the latest to commit to play at the next level.
Among those who have already signed to move on are South Alabama signees Parker and Donaldson, Alabama signee Crawford, Charleston Southern signee Izzio, Memphis signee Gartman, Louisiana Tech signee Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison), and Southeastern Louisiana signee Scherer.