Taking the field in the “championship golds” just means something different. Fitted in championship game tradition yellow pants and jerseys, the No. 2 Pearl River baseball team run-ruled Northeast 12-3 in seven innings to clinch its second consecutive MACCC Championship. In the second game, the Wildcats sent out a heavily rotated lineup and fell 11-5.
“We preach in our program that it’s bigger than yourself. We’ve seen a lot of selfless players this year. The most impressive thing about this group is that we haven’t been beaten back-to-back all year long. That’s special. When we’ve gotten knocked down, we’ve gotten back up and responded. I’m just very proud of this very special group and this very special place.”
Pearl River (34-10 overall; 22-6 MACCC) now earns a bye through the playoffs and earns hosting rights for the Region 23 Tournament, which is scheduled to be played May 16-21 at Dub Herring Park.
Continuing a long-standing tradition of wearing the all yellow uniform for championship games, the Wildcats suited up and claimed the fifth state championship in program history.
Pearl River (34-10 overall; 22-6 MACCC) got off to an incredible start on the day, pushing across three runs in the first inning of play. Gabe Broadus was the first Wildcat to get in the hit column on the day as he drove a single into center field. Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) was then hit by the third pitch of his at-bat and Alex Perry drew a walk to load up the bases.
Ian Montz then plated the first run of the day with a sacrifice fly to the warning track. D.K. Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) then battled through 10 pitches in his plate appearance before lacing a ball to the Tiger second baseman who mishandled it, allowing two more runs to cross the plate for an early 3-0 lead.
Dakota Lee took the mound with confidence in the first inning, striking out two batters on his way to a quick 1-2-3 inning.
The Wildcats did more damage in the fourth inning, doubling their advantage 6-0. Montz and Donaldson got on base to begin the inning and advanced on a wild pitch to push both into scoring position. Mercer popped a towering fly ball into left field, allowing both runners to tag and advance. Logan Walters stepped to the plate afterward and blasted a two-run homer, his third home run in the last three games. The blast was his eighth of the year.
The Wildcats built on their lead in the fifth inning when Perry crushed a ball that bounced off the top of the center field wall and over the fence, giving Pearl River an 8-1 advantage.
PRCC added on once again in the sixth inning, taking an 11-2 lead. Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison) drove a two-run double down the left field line and was promptly brought home on a single by John Griffin Bell.
The Tigers fought back to keep the game from ending in the sixth inning by pushing across two runs on a Wildcat miscue and an inside-the-park homer. The runs made the score 11-3.
Perry put the Wildcats right back into run-rule territory on the third pitch of the seventh as he crushed a solo homer over the left field wall and onto the road that runs behind the stadium.
Landen Payne closed out the game in the seventh inning, striking out the side to send the Wildcat bench and players sprinting on the field for a dog-pile.
Pearl River will look to add a game due to the layoff before the Region 23 Tournament begins. The tournament is scheduled to take place May 16-21 at Dub Herring Park. Once more details have been finalized, they will be released at PRCCAthletics.com.