No. 5 Pearl River battles until the end
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
EUNICE, La. — It was a gutty effort from the No. 5 Pearl River baseball team on Thursday, but the 2023 season came to a close. The Wildcats avoided elimination with a 10-1 run-rule of No. 13 Itawamba but couldn't dig out of a hole against LSU Eunice, falling 14-9.
"There are years that it's meant to be and there are years that it isn't," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "They tried to do everything they could to make it meant to be. I told them to get their heads up and be proud of themselves. These are special young men and I am proud of them."
Pearl River closes the season with a 45-13 record, marking back-to-back seasons with that win total.
PEARL RIVER 10, ITAWAMBA 1. If Pearl River was going to live to play another game, it was going to need a pitching performance for the ages from starter Luke Lyon (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) and the right-hander delivered.
Lyon worked around a two-out walk and double in the first to force a pop-out to end the frame. In both the second and third innings he worked around a baserunner to keep the Indians (36-13) off the board.
The Wildcats struck for two runs in the third. Jonah Katsaboulas (Pearl; Brandon) started things off with a first-pitch single into left field. Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) reached base soon after on a walk. With the duo standing in scoring position, Logan Walters (Petal) smacked a line drive into center field that allowed both runners to cross home plate, 2-0.
Itawamba sliced into the PRCC lead in the fifth, using an RBI single to move within one run at 2-1.
Pearl River thrashed Itawamba in the bottom of the fifth inning to take all the momentum. The scoring began when Hunter Sute (Tuscaloosa, Ala.; American Christian Academy) sent a two-run double into center field. After a Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville) walk loaded the bases, Katsaboulas drew a bases-loaded walk. Will Passeau (Mobile, Ala.; St. Paul's) entered the game as a pinch-hitter. The Indians drew the infield in to try and cut down any runs at the plate, but Passeau chopped a single just high enough to get over the first baseman's head and into right field for a two-run single. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) grounded out in the following plate appearance to bring home Katsaboulas. Walters capped the scoring in the inning with a line drive into left field, moving Pearl River ahead 9-1.
Lyon retired ICC in order in the sixth to bring the Wildcats right back to the dish. The second batter of the inning, Sute, worked into a 1-1 count before unleashing a big swing on the third pitch to send a solo homer over the right field wall. The homer was the first of Sute's PRCC career and put the game into run-rule territory, 10-1.
Lyon picked right back up where he left off, throwing a quick three-up, three-down seventh inning to end the game, 10-1.
Lyon threw a complete game and allowed just one run on four hits and two walks. He struck out eight Indian batters.
Katsaboulas was perfect at the plate, going 3-for-3 with two runs, one RBI and one walk. Walters tallied a pair of hits and drove in three runs. Sute finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Perry collected a hit and walked three times.
LSU EUNICE 14, PEARL RIVER 9. Pearl River dug itself into an early hole in its second game of the day as LSU Eunice (52-4) stretched five runs across the plate in the first inning.
The Wildcats responded with three runs of their own in the top of the second. Back-to-back Walters and Hickman singles began the frame and Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) brought a run home with a double. Sute picked up an RBI when he grounded out to first base and Breerwood capped the scoring with an RBI single, 5-3.
With the bases loaded in the second, the Bengals were hit by a pitch to extend their lead, 6-3. They tacked on three more runs in the third inning to move ahead 9-3.
Montz tripled to open the fourth frame and came around to score when Sute knocked a sacrifice fly into right field. The run cut the deficit to 9-4.
An inning later, PRCC clawed within one run of the Bengals. Passeau doubled to begin the frame and scored when Perry laid down a bunt. Walters reached on an error and walks by Hickman and Montz followed to load up the bases. Sute drove a double into the left field gap to clear the bases, 9-8.
LSU Eunice tacked on three runs in the sixth and one run in the seventh and eighth innings for a 14-9 advantage. PRCC had its chances in the eighth and ninth innings but was unable to get any runs.
Landen Payne (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) recorded two outs. Jordan Belsome (Poplarville) pitched 1 1/3 innings. Blake Gollott (Saucier; D'Iberville) retired one batter. JT Schnoor (Pascagoula; Resurrection) was great out of the pen, throwing 4 1/3 innings and striking out seven batters. Bobby Magee (petal) pitched 1 1/3 innings and struck out one.
Montz was the only Wildcat with multiple hits, picking up two. Breerwood walked three times. Perry and Montz walked twice each. Sute drove in five runs.