By Curtis Rockwell, Sports Editor
The Associated press
The winner of Division 8-5A gets a first round playoff bye in the upcoming Class 5A South State prep baseball playoffs.
The champion will come from Pearl River County and it will be decided over the next five days.
League-leading Pearl River Central hosts arch-rival and second place Picayune tonight in the annual Pearl River County showdown.
Two games separate the Blue Devils and Maroon Tide with two games to be played in regular season district action. The same two teams will square off in Picayune Tuesday night.
PRC stands at 9-5 in league play, and Picayune sits at 7-5. Both have already clinched berths in the state playoffs, but first and second place in the division will be decided in this series.
A Blue Devils win in either game gives PRC its first district title in seven seasons. However, if Picayune can manage to sweep its neighbors to the north, then the Maroon Tide will come away with the league crown and first round payoff bye dropping PRC to the second spot.
The second and third place teams will open the state playoffs a week earlier than district champs.
Picayune is coming off a 5-3 win over West Harrison in league play on Tuesday, while PRC dropped a 1-0 decision to Long Beach in district play on the same night.
The Maroon Tide was coming off a 9-2 loss on the road to Columbia over the weekend. Devin Hedgepeth took the loss.
Picayune is 8-11 overall.
Also, PRC was coming off a 5-3 win over visiting Biloxi over the weekend. Blake Caruso picked up the win, and Cody Lee earned a save. Lane Fazende had three hits including a double and drove in two runs for PRC, while Caleb Morales had two hits as well. Dylan Spiers had a two run pinch hit double in the winning effort.
The Blue Devils are 14-6 overall.
Also tonight, Poplarville hosts St. Stanislaus in a key Region 8-4A contest. The Rock-A-Chaws beat the Hornets 4-3 in eight innings on Tuesday.
The Hornets were coming off a 9-2 loss to Gulfport over the weekend. Drake Hodges took the loss.