No. 3 Pearl River wins two very different games at Holmes
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
VICKSBURG, Miss. — The No. 3 Pearl River baseball team found two very different ways to get a sweep Saturday at Sports Force Park against Holmes. The Wildcats used a three-homer game from Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) to survive a 12-11 slugfest in the first game of the day before running away with game two, 11-0 in six innings.
"Credit to Holmes. They swung the bats and did a good job today," head coach Michael Avalon said. "It was a tough day and in this league every game is tough. I was proud of the way we were down two in the ninth and really took over the game. We're just thankful for the wins."
Pearl River (25-7 overall; 13-3 MACCC) got on the scoreboard first, putting up a two-spot in the first inning of play. Parker saw five pitches in his at-bat before knocking the sixth pitch into left field for a single. Matt Mercer (Richton; Petal) then stepped to the plate and hit a towering fly ball into center field. The Holmes (9-17; 6-8) outfielder made an error, allowing Parker to score from first and Mercer to travel all 360 feet for a run.
HCC cut the deficit in half in the bottom half of the frame, scoring a run on an error to make the score 2-1.
The Wildcats went quietly in the second, but the Bulldogs tied things up 2-2 with a solo shot in the bottom half of the inning.
Parker gave PRCC the lead right back in the third inning. John Griffin Bell (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) singled on the first pitch of his at-bat, and in stepped the Wildcat center fielder. Parker took the first pitch he saw for a ball before demolishing the next one for an opposite-field two-run shot. The blast made the score 4-2.
A pair of home runs helped the Wildcats build out a 7-2 advantage in the fifth inning. Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) got the inning started with a single past the Bulldog shortstop. After a Wildcat strikeout, Parker mimicked his earlier at-bat, taking the first pitch before lacing his 12th home run of the season over the left field wall. An out later, Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) smacked a solo shot out of the ballpark to extend the lead. The homer was his ninth of the year.
Holmes cut the deficit to just two runs at 7-5 in the bottom half of the inning, hitting a two-run shot and bringing another home on a wild pitch.
The sixth inning saw HCC push across three runs to grab its first lead of the day, 8-7.
Pearl River snatched the lead right back in the next half-inning. Parker led off the inning with a single and Mercer was then hit by a pitch. Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) then grounded out, allowing both runners to advance. On the fifth pitch of D.K. Donaldson's (Gulfport; West Harrison) at-bat he lined a ball into center field to bring home Parker and Mercer, taking a 9-8 lead in the process.
The Bulldogs took the lead back immediately in the bottom half of the inning, belting a three-run homer to go ahead 11-9.
If the Wildcats were down about their lead going away, they sure did not show it in the ninth. Parker stepped up to the plate and blasted the very first pitch of his at-bat deep over the center field wall to cut the lead to 11-10. The third homer of the game for Parker propelled him back into first in the NJCAA. Moments later Perry was plunked to get on base setting up a clutch two-run moonshot for Montz that sent the Wildcats into hysterics and gave them a 12-11 lead.
The Bulldogs threatened in the bottom of the inning by getting into scoring position with a triple, but Cole Tolbert (Laurel; West Jones) struck out the final batter to secure the victory.
Sam Hill (Soso; West Jones) threw the first 4 1/3 innings of the day, allowing four hits, two walks and four earned runs. He struck out three batters. Blake Hooks (Petal) tossed 2/3 of an inning, giving up one run on one hit and one walk. Landen Payne (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) tallied an inning with two runs, two hits, one walk and two strikeouts. Tolbert pitched the final three innings of the game, giving up three runs on three hits and a walk. He struck out three Bulldog hitters.
Tate Parker was tearing the cover off the baseball in the game, finishing 5-for-5 with three homers and five RBIs.
"He's a marked man every time out. That shows just how special of a player he is," Avalon said. "He's a winner. He didn't have the best of days the other day, so I knew he was going to come out today with a bunch of hits. I'm glad he's a Wildcat."
Bell collected three hits in the game. Broadus and Montz each had two hits in the contest.
The Wildcats scored in all but one inning in the second game of the day, including a stretch of four consecutive innings.
Four runs were put up in the very first frame of the game. Broadus and Parker each drew a walk before Perry became the second Wildcat with double-digit homers this season, blasting a three-run shot. Perry's homer made the score 3-0. Mercer made it back-to-back home runs moments later as he connected with an 0-1 pitch to send it deep over the fence for a 4-0 lead.
The first two Wildcats were put away to start the second inning before Broadus doubled. He then stole third base and scored on a passed ball shortly after. Bell was able to beat out a dropped third strike, steal second base and advance to third on an error. Parker then brought him home with an RBI double. Perry was the next Wildcat to come to bat and grounded a ball to third base that was mishandled and allowed another run to score. The error gave PRCC a 7-0 lead.
Another miscue by the Bulldogs allowed Broadus to score in the third inning, going ahead 8-0.
Logan Walters (Petal) pushed across the ninth run of the day in the fourth inning with a line drive RBI double.
Montz capped the scoring in a big way in the top of the sixth inning. With Mercer standing on first base the right fielder wasted no time, blasting the first pitch of the at-bat for his second two-run homer of the day to extend the lead to 11-0.
HCC got a runner on in the bottom half but was unable to avoid the run-rule as the Wildcats took the game 11-0 in six innings.
Dakota Lee (Purvis) turned in a great performance tossing four shutout innings, striking out six and scattering three hits.
"Dakota had a great day," Avalon said. "We gave up 11 runs in the first game and then that guy toes the rubber and puts up zeros to give us a chance. I was proud of that."
Bobby Magee (Petal) threw an inning, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out one. Ryan Burt (Columbus; New Hope) pitched the last inning of the night and gave up one hit. He struck out one batter.
Broadus and Perry each collected a pair of hits in the game. Perry had three RBIs and scored two runs in the game.
The Wildcats finally return to Dub Herring Park Tuesday in an important doubleheader against Hinds. The games are set to get underway at 3 p.m.
Single-game tickets are available now and can be purchased at PRCCAthletics.com/tickets.
All home Pearl River baseball games are livestreamed 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 on WRJW 1320-AM, 106.9 FM and WRJWRadio.com.