PRC rallies to sweep West Jones in 2nd round

Published 7:00 am Tuesday, May 2, 2017

CARRIERE —Pearl River Central dialed in for a complete sweep against West Jones over the weekend, shutting out the Mustangs 4-0 in game one before pounding 16 hits in a 14-5 victory in game two.

The Blue Devils’ seniors played a huge role in the team’s success in the first round of the playoffs against Pascagoula. That leadership trickled into the second round against West Jones.

In the midst of a rowdy Mustangs crowd, senior Cade Lee took full control of West Jones’ mound in Friday’s game one with five strikeouts and one walk in a shutout performance.

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“That’s why he pitches game ones, because he battles,” PRC Head Coach Neil Walther said. “He plays his position so well and the team plays well behind him.”

Senior Connor Holston also got in the mix Friday, hitting a two-run RBI single to lift the Blue Devils to a 3-0 lead in the top of the third inning.

“Coach does a good job of preparing us for any scenario when we step up to the plate,” senior Connor Holston said, describing his 2 RBI single. “I saw a runner in a scoring position and I just went out there and did my job.”

West Jones began gaining momentum in the middle frames Friday night, producing a double play in the fourth to end a PRC run with bases loaded. The Mustangs then connected on a double and single with no outs in the fifth to place base runners in scoring positions. However, Lee managed to capitalize on three outs to keep West Jones off the scoreboard.

To put the nail in the coffin, Hayden Dunhurst swung for the top of the fence to bring in the final run of the game, giving the Blue Devils a 1-0 advantage in the best-of-three series after a 4-0 victory in game one.

Saturday, PRC saved its sloppy defense in the initial innings with an outstanding offensive performance, pounding 16 hits, 10 RBIs and 14 runs to complete a two-game sweep against West Jones.

Although PRC got out to a 4-1 lead through two innings, behind Eli Lee’s two-run RBI single in the first, the Blue Devils committed four errors, which West Jones took advantage of to tie the game 4-4 in the third.

After pitcher Rigell Robinson made an acrobatic catch to end the top of the fourth with a double play, teammate Hayden Dunhurst sent a 3-run home run over the right field wall to shake PRC out of its slump and give the team a 7-4 lead. Austen Izzio followed with a sacrifice fly in the next inning to give PRC an 8-5 cushion.

In the sixth inning, Caleb Tynes started a rally with an RBI single through the 3-4 hole before subsequent PRC batter Zach Roussell hit another RBI single. Senior Holston continued his post-season hitting streak with an RBI double to end the rally and give his team a 12-5 advantage.

West Jones failed to stop Tristan Schlottmann from stealing second base, teammate Mason Treat, who was on third, faked out the Mustang defense into thinking he was stealing home. Stuck in a rundown, Treat made a move to go back to third and then swiftly maneuvered back for home plate, which forced a wild throw that bought him and Schlottman time to find home, finishing the game 14-5.

Izzio led the Blue Devils with two doubles and a single Saturday while Roussell also had three hits, all of which were singles. Schlottmann connected on back-to-back doubles in game one and continued his spree with two hits Saturday, including another double and a single. Tynes and Josh Kennedy each had two hits while Treat, Holston, Eli Lee and Dunhurst each had one hit Saturday. Dunhurst led the team with three RBIs from his home run Saturday.

PRC advances to the 5A quarterfinals against Long Beach, who comes off a sweep against Brookhaven, outscoring Panthers 21-5 in two games. The series against Long Beach will start Thursday at 7 p.m. at Long Beach before returning to Carriere Friday for game two.

If necessary, game three will be played at Long Beach.