No. 1 Pearl River splits twin bill against pair of rivals
Published 2:09 pm Thursday, March 2, 2023
LLISVILLE, Miss. — No. 1 Pearl River’s Wednesday doubleheader had everything that one could have expected out of rivalry games against Gulf Coast and Jones College. PRCC was victorious in a 3-2 pitcher’s duel against Gulf Coast but was plagued by errors in an 8-5 game two loss to Jones College.
“There were three good baseball teams on the field today,” Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. “The first game, we got a really good start from Cooksey against a really good offense. In game two, we just made too many mistakes and they did a good job capitalizing on those mistakes.”
PEARL RIVER 3, GULF COAST 2.
After one inning of play, it looked as if the matchup between rivals was going to be high-scoring, but Pearl River (13-3 overall) and Gulf Coast (6-8) pitching staffs settled in for a pitcher’s duel the rest of the way.
The Bulldogs struck first in their half of the first, capitalizing on a Wildcat error to score on an RBI single. After swiping second base and moving to third on a ground out, MGCCC scored another run on a passed ball to take a 2-0 lead.
PRCC didn’t let the tough start bother it with an immediate answer in the bottom frame. Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) singled on a line drive to centerfield and advanced to second base on a ground out. That’s when Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) stepped to the plate and deposited an opposite-field two-run shot over the right field wall to square things at two apiece. The home run was the first of the season for the Tennessee signee.
Both starting pitchers settled in following the first inning and it wasn’t until the fifth inning that Pearl River made the Bulldogs make a mistake. Standing at the plate with a 2-2 count, Logan Walters (Petal) blasted a solo shot over dead center field to push Pearl River ahead 3-2.
Two strikeouts and a flyout by Cooper Cooksey (Waveland; Bay) in the sixth helped the Wildcats carry the lead into the seventh. Cooksey punched out the first batter in the seventh inning, walked a batter and then recorded a fly out to center field. Needing just one more out, PRCC brought in Blake Hooks (Petal). The sidewinder inherited a 2-1 count and needed four pitches to strike out the batter, earning the save in the process.
Cooksey threw 91 pitches across 6 2/3 innings, allowing three hits, two walks and two unearned runs. He struck out a season-high nine batters.
“Cooksey gets better each time out,” Avalon said. “His confidence is getting better. He had a good feel for the off-speed pitches today.”
Hooks punched out the only batter that he faced.
Perry went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a run scored. Walters also finished 2-for-3 in the game, driving in one run and scoring another.
JONES COLLEGE 8, PEARL RIVER 5.
In its second game of the day against a red-hot Jones College (11-4) team, Pearl River handed the ball to Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone County). Despite giving up two first-inning singles, Dennis left the inning unscathed to send the Wildcats back to the plate in the second.
Hunter Sute (Tuscaloosa, Ala.; American Christian Academy) walked and was moved to second on a Parker Ryan (Madison; Jackson Academy) groundout. Sute came all the way around to score on a wild pitch to grab an early 1-0 lead.
Quiet innings from the Bobcats and Wildcats in the third and the fourth, set up a three-run inning by PRCC in the fifth. Broadus laced a ball into right field and slide into third base safely for a triple. Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) then walked to the plate and demolished the first pitch that was thrown to him for a two-run shot and a 3-0 lead. A Perry double and Walters single placed runners at first and third. Walters intentionally got caught in a run down to allow Perry to cross the plate, 4-0.
Jones College responded with three runs in the bottom half of the fifth, using an RBI groundout and a two-run single. PRCC added an insurance run to its total in the seventh with an RBI double by Walters, 5-3.
The Bobcats struck for four runs in the bottom of the seventh, doing all of their damage with two outs and taking a 7-5 lead. A passed ball in the eighth inning allowed one more runner to score, JC an 8-5 advantage.
Broadus led off the inning with a walk, but three straight Wildcat strikeouts ended the game.
Errors plagued the Wildcats in the game as five errors allowed four Bobcat runs.
Dennis threw four innings, allowing three runs, two of which were unearned. He struck out three batters and walked two. Bobby Magee (Petal) threw 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on two walks and three hits. Blake Gollott (D’Iberville) was charged with two runs, two hits and a walk. Cameron Fennell (Long Beach) recorded a strikeout against one hit. JT Schnoor (Pascagoula; Resurrection) pitched the final inning for the Wildcats, giving up an unearned run on a walk and a strikeout.
Walters was the only Wildcat with multiple hits, finishing 2-for-5 with an RBI. Broadus finished 1-for-2 with three walks and a run scored. Sute drew two walks.
The Wildcats hit the road Friday to take on Baton Rouge. The doubleheader will get underway at 2 p.m.
“It’s a tough stretch in our schedule. We’re playing a lot of innings,” Avalon said. “It can be a good thing to play a bunch but also it’s just tough to play that much in six days. Eight games in six days is tough.”
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