PRC preparing for Panthers

Published 4:03 pm Friday, March 22, 2013

The top two Class 5A teams in South Mississippi meet on the diamond tonight.

Pearl River Central hosts Pascagoula in a big district battle between teams that lead their respective divisions. Both teams stand 5-1 in league play so far.

The Panthers are the defending Class 5A state champions, and eliminated the Blue Devils in the South State semifinals on their way to winning the crown last year.

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So far in league play, PRC has lost only to East Central while Picayune handed Pascagoula its only loss. The Panthers beat Long Beach Tuesday behind a no-hitter from Andrew Crane.

The 6-foot-4, 190-pound senior threw his first no-hitter as the Panthers completed a regular-season sweep of the Bearcats with a 4-0 victory. In the win, Crane threw 101 pitches, walked two and recorded 11 strikeouts to help the Panthers improve to 7-6 overall and 5-1 in 5A region play. Crane also beat Picayune earlier in the year.

East Central ace Easton Marshall earned the win in PRC’s only league loss. He also shutdown Picayune 1-0 Tuesday. He allowed just one hit and one base-runner, striking out seven and walking none.

Mark Wood had the only hit for the Maroon Tide, a single in the fourth. Peyton Lee took the tough loss for Picayune.

Marshall has now pitched a pair of one-hitters in district action and has allowed just six hits in 26 innings pitched.

• In Division 8-4A, Poplarville travels to Greene County tonight. The Hornets are coming off their first league loss of the season, after falling to the Wildcats 3-2 on Tuesday.

Zac Houston took the loss for Poplarvile, dropping his first decision of the season. Houston had a two run double to account for both of Poplarville’s runs, while Justin Oliver had a triple and J.J. Welch added a double for  the Hornets.

Justin Woods pitched a complete-game with eight strikeouts for Greene County in the winning effort. Heath Brewer had two RBIs for the Wildcats, who are now 9-6 overall and 3-0 in division play. Poplarville is 8-5, 2-1.