Pearl River baseball announces 8th annual First Pitch Banquet
Dylan Dunaway - PRCC Sports Information Director
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — The Pearl River baseball program is set to hold its eighth annual First Pitch Banquet, and the Wildcats are excited to announce that Southern Miss head coach Christian Ostrander will be the guest. This year's format will feature a question-and-answer session with PRCC coach Michael Avalon and Ostrander.
The banquet, which is set for Jan. 19, will take place inside Olivia Bender Cafeteria on Pearl River's Poplarville campus. The doors open at 5:30 p.m. for a silent auction, and the banquet begins at 6:30 p.m. Tickets will be sold for $40 at the door. Children 12 and under eat free.
"We are excited about the upcoming spring season, and our annual First Pitch Banquet is a tremendous night to get the season started," head coach Michael Avalon said. "This is a special night for our players and their families as we introduce this team to our fans and community. This is a great chance to meet and interact with our players.
"We are looking forward to having coach Ostrander as our guest. He is one of the great baseball coaches in the game today. We look forward to hearing about his experiences in the game of baseball, and I am sure he will have a message that everyone will benefit from hearing."
Ostrander is entering his seventh season with the Golden Eagles and first as the head coach after taking over for legendary head coach Scott Berry.
During the previous six seasons, Ostrander oversaw a hugely successful Southern Miss pitching staff. Ostrander was a huge part of USM's success in 2023, which saw the Golden Eagles win 46 games, win the SunBelt Tournament Championship, earn a seventh-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and advance to the NCAA Super Regionals.
In 2022, Ostrander was named the Conference USA's Assistant Coach of the Year after his pitching staff racked up a school-record 746 strikeouts and ranked second nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.12), WHIP (1.16), strikeouts per nine innings (11.3) and ERA (3.29).
Ostrander's pitchers were first nationally in strikeout-to-walk ratio (4.06), second in walks per nine innings (2.24), third in shutouts (8) and sixth in WHIP (1.17) in 2021.
Despite the 2020 season being canceled, Ostrander's pitchers racked up 172 strikeouts in 140 1/3 innings.
The Golden Eagles picked up a fourth-straight 40-win season in 2019, with his pitching staff picking up seven shutouts, 479 strikeouts and just 207 walks during the campaign.
He joined the Southern Miss staff in 2018 and made an immediate difference. The Golden Eagles had a 3.70 ERA and eight shutouts that season, finishing in the Top 10 nationally in three different categories.
Before joining Southern Miss, Ostrander coached for two seasons at Louisiana Tech as the program's associate head coach and pitching coach. The Bulldogs racked up a 78-40 record and went to the NCAA tournament during the two-year stint. In 2016, LA Tech finished the year with 496 strikeouts and earned 10 wins over top-25 programs.
Ostrander got his head coaching start with Jones College, where he was at the helm of the program for seven seasons. During his time as a Bobcat, he led JC to two MACJC Championships, four division titles and two 40-win seasons. He had an incredible 255-109 record in Ellisville, finishing as the National Runner-up in 2011.
His coaching career began at Delta State as the pitching coach, recruiting coordinator and camp coordinator from 1999-02. The Statesmen posted an 189-43 record over the four seasons, winning the Gulf South Conference West Division all four years and the South Regional championship in 2001 and '02.
He earned his bachelor's degree in education from Delta State in 1996 and his master's degree in education administration in 1998. Ostrander is a native of Monroe, La. He and his wife, Amy, have two daughters, Caitlin and Allie.
HOW TO ATTEND
To RSVP for the banquet, email Avalon at email@example.com. Tickets will be purchased at the door for $40 each.