Pearl River eyes Region 23 title

Published 1:16 pm Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Pearl River Community College is headed to the Region 23 Tournament this wee. The event starts Thursday at Hinds CC and the Wildcats and Eagles will be joined by LSU-Eunice and East Central in the four team event. The winner earns a berth in the juco world series.

Hinds beat ECCC Saturday for the MACJC state title after the Warriors eliminated Pearl River’s Wildcats with a hard-fought 8-7 win in Friday night’s semi-final.

The Warriors went up 1-0 in the top of the first inning and that score remained intact until the top of the sixth when Moore led off with a walk and Stokes smashed a bomb to center that embedded in the wall. Wildcat center fielder B.J. Smith retrieved the ball thinking ground-rule double. Meanwhile, Stokes was racing home and his smash was ruled an inside-the-park home run to put ECCC up 3-0.

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“It was an honest mistake,” said fifth-year Wildcat head coach Jamie McMahon. “If B.J. had left it (ball) alone, it would’ve been a ground-rule double, but as soon as he retrieved it, that didn’t apply.”

After Marzoni put two Warriors on with two outs in the top of the seventh, he exited the mound for reliever Josh Hubble of Forrest County AHS, who immediately walked Long to load the bases before Stokes grounded to second for the third out.

The Wildcats unloaded offensively in the bottom of the inning. Luke Rowan and Clinton High and Jake Hawkins of Sumrall High led off the back-to-back walks which saw reliever Pervis Mann take over the mound in place of Bacon. After walking B.J. Smith to load the bases, Mann struck out Magee before pushing a run home with a passed ball. After Harvey popped out to third, Graeter belted a two-run double to center to knot things at 3-3, while Farrar followed by a double to score Graeter for a one-run lead. Bryn Whitehead of Sumrall High followed with a single, scoring Farrar, to make it 5-3 before Linton flew to left for the third out.

After Hubble walked lead off Vincent Kortbawi in the top of the eight, Sean Kelly of Pearl River Central relieved to retire three straight to end the inning.

Long relieved Mann in the bottom of the frame and the Wildcats managed to pad their lead. Hawkins got things rolling with a one-out single and stole second and third before Long K’ed B.J. Smith. Magee then singled to left, scoring Hawkins, but was thrown out at second in an attempt to stretch his base hit into a double.

But the Warriors showed resiliency in the top of the final inning. After Kelly put two on with a walk and a single with one out, Taylor Martin out of St. Michael’s High in Baton Rouge relieved. Martin immediately loaded the bases with a base on balls before Stokes’ RBI sacrifice to left made it 6-4. Kortbawi then crushed a two-run triple to tie it up and scored off Charles Hill’s single to regain the lead at 8-6.

Bryn Whitehead drove ina run for PRCC to make it 8-7, but it wouldn’t be enough.

PRCC finished with 11 hits, led by Graeter who doubled and had two singles (two RBIs), while Magee had three singles (one RBI), Farrar doubled (one RBI).