No. 1 Pearl River shows resilience in sweep of Wharton County

Published 6:02 pm Monday, February 6, 2023


LAFAYETTE, La. — The Pearl River baseball team concluded the two-day series against Wharton County with another sweep. The Wildcats trailed late in both games but showed immense composure to rally and win both games 8-3 and 11-7.

“Our leaders stepped there at the end and refused to lose,” head coach Michael Avalon said. “Credit to them, they played just as long as we did and took the lead on us late, but again credit to our guys refusing to get beat in the end.”


Cooper Cooksey (Waveland; Bay High) took the mound in game one for the Pearl River (4-0 overall) and retired the first eight batters he faced. Despite a runner reaching on an error, Cooksey worked out of the jam to keep things scoreless after three innings.

The game remained scoreless until the fifth inning when Parker Ryan (Madison; Jackson Academy) scored on a throwing error. Wharton County (1-7) responded immediately in the bottom half of the inning with three runs of its own to take a 3-1 lead.

The Wildcats were not fazed and proceeded to plate seven runs in the sixth inning. The inning began with three straight walks by Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala; Faith Academy), Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville), and Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown). Shortly thereafter, Broadus came around to score on an infield fly to cut the deficit, 3-2. The scoring continued on an RBI single by Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) that allowed Breerwood to score to tie the game at 3-3. The Wildcats took advantage of a few wild pitches to take the lead. The scoring barrage continued with a Broadus RBI single that was followed up by a Breerwood double to blow things open 8-3. Bobby Magee (Petal) shut down the Pioneer offense in the bottom half of the inning to send the offense back to the plate.

After a quiet inning, Cameron Fennell (Long Beach) closed things out for the Wildcats in game one, securing an impressive 8-3 victory.

Soper, Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike), Broadus, Triston Hickman (Wiggins; Stone County), Ryan, and Breerwood all collected hits for the Wildcats in game one. Soper, Ryan and Breerwood collected an RBI each.

Cooksey was solid in his first start tossing four complete innings, striking out five. He allowed two runs on two hits and walked a batter. Magee was stellar in relief pitching two shutout innings while striking out four. Fennell tossed a scoreless seventh inning.


Broadus got things started for the Wildcats in the first with a double. He came around to score a few moments later on a Breerwood single. Logan Walters continued the early offense after reaching on an error and came around to score when Hunter Sute (Tuscaloosa, Ala; American Christian Academy) laced a ball through the right side for a single to increase the lead to 2-0. Ian Montz (Lafayette, La; Acadiana) scored on a hard-hit single by Jonah Katsaboulas (Pearl; Brandon) to set the score at 3-0.

The Pioneers cut the lead 3-2 shortly after to force a pitching change and Jordan Belsome (Poplarville) answered the call by working out the bases-loaded jam to halt the rally.

Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone) came on to pitch in the third and was electric for the Wildcats working four scoreless innings. WCJC finally broke through against Cortez in the seventh and plated four runs to force two pitching changes in the inning. After the Pioneers took a 7-4 lead, JT Schnoor (Pascagoula; Resurrection) retired the final batter to bring the seventh inning to a close.

The Wildcats found themselves down to their final three outs with the top of the batting order due up in the ninth. Needing a spark, Ryan opened the inning with a walk. Broadus followed that up with a walk of his own to set up first and second with no outs. Soper stepped up moments later and scorched a base hit that scored Ryan to cut the deficit, 7-5. Walters punched a ball into left centerfield moments later to score Broadus and bring the deficit down to one. Sute continued the rally by rifling a ball back up the middle for a base hit, but Walters and Soper only advanced one base. Blake Hooks(Petal) put together an impressive at-bat by fouling off six straight pitches and finally roping a single into right field scoring Walters and Soper to complete the comeback 8-7. The Wildcats were not done there as Montz continued the inning with a 2-run triple to increase the lead, 10-7. The scoring was capped off with a Katsaboulas sacrifice fly to set the score 11-7. Schnoor slammed the door in the bottom half of the inning to complete the comeback victory 11-7.

Sute collected three hits and an RBI on the evening. He also walked and scored a run. Montz and Walters collected two hits and two RBIs each. Soper finished with two hits and an RBI. He also walked and scored two runs. Broadus set the table well in game two by collecting two hits and two walks. He also scored twice.

Dennis pitched 4 2/3 innings and struck out five batters. Schnoor pitched the final 2 1/3 innings and struck out two.


The Wildcats hit the road on Friday against Enterprise State. First pitch is set for 12 p.m.

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