Lee, Dunhurst lead Blue Devils past Pascagoula 11-5

Published 10:14 pm Friday, April 21, 2017

CARRIERE — The one-two punch from Pearl River Centrals’ Hayden Dunhurst and Eli Lee were too much for Pascagoula Friday night in game one, combining for six RBIs and five hits, including a home run and three extra base hits in PRC’s 11-5 playoff victory.

“We are beginning to play our game,” PRC Head Coach Neil Walther said. “We’re playing playoff baseball.”

From his first plate appearance to his last, Lee was an intimidating force. In the fifth inning, he made his mark, sending a home run over the scoreboard to tie the game 5-5 after Dunhurst racked in two runs with a double in the preceding at bat.

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“That hit really changed the game for us and was exactly what we needed to get ahead,” Walther said.

In the beginning, it was Lee who connected on the first RBI single to round teammate Austen Izzio home in the bottom of the first.

After that, it was PRC’s pitcher Cade Lee who kept the Panthers at bay, remaining hitless through the first two innings until Jeffrey Sossaman hit a single in the top of the third. Two batters later and the Panthers tied the game at 1-1.

In the bottom of the fourth, Zach Roussell lit a fire underneath the Blue Devils with a perfectly placed bunt that teetered the third base foul line, allowing him to make it safely to first and filling the bases for Caleb Tynes who cranked an RBI single into left field to give PRC a 2-1 advantage.

“Everyone had their part tonight, whether it was Eli’s home run or Zach’s crucial bunts,” Walther said.

However that lead would not last long as Pascagoula took control of the game with bases loaded for five consecutive batters in the fifth.

To start the rally, Blue Devils’ Cade Lee hit Alden Davis while the bases were loaded to concede the tying run. The very next batter, Matt Inlow, took advantage of the full bases and hit an RBI single to give the away team a 3-2 lead. Immediately after that, Panthers’ Landyn Gordan got enough contact with the ball to send it just past the mound to bring home another run. Before PRC got the final out of the inning, Panthers’ Austin Beech hit a sacrifice fly to center field which piled on another run for Pascagoula, inching closer to a vital away playoff victory.

However, the home team went on a tear in the team’s final two innings, connecting on seven hits and amassing nine runs to gain a comfortable 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series against Pascagoula.

After Eli Lee cranked a home run, it was the second punch from Dunhurst that sealed the deal, splitting the Panthers outfielders for his second multi-RBI hit of the game with two outs and runners on first and third base in the sixth inning to take a 7-5 lead. After knocking one out of the park, Eli Lee stepped to the plate again only to hit an RBI double to propel the Blue Devils ahead by another run in the sixth inning.

PRC began giving the Panthers’ bullpen trouble as the team went through three different pitchers in the sixth, only to find the Blue Devils were performing well at bat late Friday night. To end the scoring spree, PRC’s Tynes knocked a triple to the center field fence with runners on second and third, rounding two runs to finish the game 11-5.

Dunhurst finished perfectly for the Blue Devils, connecting on three hits in three at bats while attributing three RBIs. Eli Lee batted .500 with two hits and three RBIs. Tynes connected on one hit for three RBIs while teammates Izzio and Roussell both had two hits Friday. Cade Lee swung for .667 with two hits and an RBI.

Cade Lee also helmed the mound, collecting a win during a complete game consisting of seven strikeouts, two walks and a 3.00 ERA.