PRC baseball gets back to winning ways

Published 7:00 am Saturday, March 14, 2020

Pearl River Central’s Blue Devils baseball team beat the Hancock Hawks 18-6 in a matchup held March 12.

The game only went five innings because of the mercy rule that exists in high school baseball.

Senior pitcher Austin Diebold got the start for the Blue Devils and earned the win as PRC’s bats came alive.

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Diebold finished the game throwing all five innings with six hits, six runs, one error, four walks and seven strikeouts.

The win against Hancock brought the team’s record to 8-3 this season and was a good turn around for the squad after losing to Hancock 5-1 just two days prior.

Head Coach Neil Walther said the team was familiar with what the Hawks’ starting pitching could do after he held the Blue Devils to just one run in a previous game.

Some changes were made at the plate by PRC and the adjustments paid off.

“We just had a different approach and emphasized, win or lose, this is the approach we’re going to have. We stuck with it and it paid dividends,” Walther said.

Walther said the players buy into what the coaches tell them, but having results to back it up never hurts.

The game took place as sporting competitions across the world were suspended or cancelled due to COVID-19, commonly known as Coronavirus.

Players had to focus in and just worry about baseball during the two and a half hour game, which Walther said he was proud of following the team’s win.

“I understand the decisions completely and it’s tough, but I thought our kids handled it really well. There are only certain things we can control, so those things outside our control we can’t worry about,” Walther said.

As of press time, a decision concerning cancelling high school athletic competitions has not been made.

Walther said Diebold had already been scheduled to start for the Blue Devils against Hancock, but due to the possibility of the season being cancelled there wasn’t any way he was going to take the ball out of the senior’s hand.

There were three errors by the Blue Devils’ defense that didn’t help Diebold, but he battled out of some tough situations en route to the PRC win.

“He’s the heart and soul of this team and he epitomizes what it means to be a Blue Devil. He accepts a role and excels at it. He doesn’t get greedy and does what’s best for the team,” Walther said.

Barring some sort of suspension or cancellation of the season by the Mississippi High School Activities Association, PRC is scheduled to play at Gautier March 13 at 7 p.m. followed by a game against Moss Point March 14 at 1 p.m.