Bears end season with postseason loss to Pearl River

Published 8:13 pm Monday, May 8, 2023

by Southwest Mississippi Community College Sports Information

POPLARVILLE — The Bears came into Friday’s Game 2 of their best-of-three Region 23 play-
in series against host Pearl River, hoping to not only bounce back from Thursday’s Game 1 loss,
but also fight to play another day.

Unfortunately, the No. 3 Wildcats would not let that happen as the Bears fell 9-1, thus ending
their season.

“Today that I was proud that we made them beat us,” Southwest head coach Jack Edmonson
said. “And they did, the No. 3 team in the country beat us. I’m really proud of our guys. This is
the most fun that I’ve ever had coaching baseball and I hope they feel the same way.”

Southwest (23-28) starter Luke Lirette showed his resilience in the first inning, battling out of a
bases-loaded jam, preventing Pearl River from scoring in the opening frame.

Following an one hour and 10 minute weather delay both teams got back to it and unfortunately
for Southwest, it was Pearl River who pushed the first run across the plate as a solo home run in
the second made it a 1-0 deficit for the Bears.

Lirette battled back, preventing any Wildcat runs in the third while also registering a strikeout.

In the fourth, however, Pearl River rallied, pushing two runs across on a passed ball and an error.

A two-run home run the following inning put the Bears in a 5-0 hole, however, a Braiden Jones
home run in the sixth cut into the Wildcat lead making it a 5-1 game. The Bears kept the rally
going with back-to-back singles from Connor McHenry and Jerod Williams but the next two
Southwest batters struck out, ending the Bear run.

Pearl River answered with a pair of runs on a wild pitch and a single putting Southwest down 7-

The Wildcats added two more in the eighth, the latter of the pair being a walk-off fielder’s

McHenry led the Bear offense with two hits. Following Lirette, four other Southwest pitchers
logged time on the mound.

After the game, Edmonson said that he feels good about the outlook for next season.

“We’ve got two-thirds of the team returning and I’m really excited about that,” he said. “We’ve
got some big pieces from this year coming back but we are also losing some big pieces. That
happens and I’m really proud of those guys that we are losing. They are moving on and going to
represent Southwest.”