Blue Devils begin state playoff

Published 6:44 pm Thursday, April 19, 2007

Coming into this season, Pearl River Central was the favorite to defend its Division 8-4A baseball title.

And, after being sidetracked a bit early on, that’s exactly what the Blue Devils did.

Head coach Greg Lewis and his PRC squad host Wayne County as the Class 4A South State playoffs begin tonight at 7 p.m., in game one of the best of three opening round series.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

The Blue Devils, who finished second to Long Beach in the regular season, beat the Bearcats in Long Beach twice in the division tournament to earn the title and grab the top-seed.

“It was important to us. We wanted to show everybody that we were the best team in the district,” PRC’s Matt Discon, one of six seniors on the squad, said. Discon had three hits and drove in four runs in the division finals, a resounding 13-0 win for PRC.

In addition to Discon, Mike Lehmann, Heath Graham, Ram Miller, Silas Baker and Adam Herrin round out the senior class, which can be considered the most successful in PRC baseball history.

Lehmann, the teams ace, will take the hill tonight against the War Eagles. He is 7-2 on the season with a miniscule 0.58 earned run average. The Tulane signee, expected to be taken within the first 10 rounds of the upcoming Major League Baseball Amateur draft, has struck out almost 100 opposing batters with his pitching repertoire, that includes a fastball that has been clocked at 94 miles per hour.

Lehmann is also one of the top PRC hitters, with five home runs.

Half of PRC’s senior class, Lehmann, Discon and Miller, were displaced to Pearl River County from St. Bernard Parish after Hurricane Katrina struck.

The Blue Devils will be facing a Wayne County squad that stands 25-9 on the season and finished second behind perennial power Petal in Division 5-4A. Petal won the tourney title 14-2 over Wayne County on Monday.

The War Eagles are coached by Chris McCardle, who is in his first year at the helm of the Waynesboro school after winning the Class 2A state championship at Taylorsville last season.

Despite their impressive mark, the War Eagles are in a bit of a slump recently as they have lost five of their last seven games coming into the playoffs.

Lewis, in his fifth year the helm of PRC, has the team in the state playoffs for the fourth straight season, but this will be the first ever postseason meeting between the two schools.

Game two is set for Friday in Waynesboro, again with a 7 p.m., start. Game three, if necessary, will be back in Carriere on Saturday at 1 p.m.