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PRC baseball picks up first district win of the season

Pearl River Central’s Blue Devils defeated the Long Beach Bearcats Monday evening 4-0, moving the team to 1-0 in district play.

Seeing as it was the first game of the season that would impact the team’s playoff seeding, Head Coach Neil Walther made sure his players understood the level of focus and energy they’d need in order to win.

“We were pleased. We haven’t played a district game in two years (because last season was cancelled). I told them ahead of time that Long Beach is going to come with a lot of intensity and that we’re going to have to bring more, and I thought they responded pretty well,” Walther said.

Justin Robertson was dealing all night for PRC and pitched a complete game while striking out 10 Bearcats.

The junior’s dominance on the mound helped the Blue Devils, who have a propensity for scoring a lot of runs, win on a night where they scored the second least amount of runs this season.

“(Justin Robertson) did a great job and kept us in it. Every time he takes the mound we feel we have a good chance to get the win,” Walther said.

Starting 1-0 in district means the Blue Devils are in a good spot heading into Friday’s rematch with the Bearcats.

Long Beach will have to win the game not only to prevent PRC from going 2-0 in district, but also having a distinct advantage if the two teams have similar records when postseason positions are determined.

“When you’re only playing nine games that really matter all year, getting that first one is huge and puts you in a good situation. If you have a three game series, we obviously want to win all of them we play, but if you play Long Beach two more times and beat them once you essentially have a two game lead on them (when determining district seeding) because even with the same record we have the tie breaker,” Walther said.

PRC has only lost one game all season, and the Blue Devils will look to keep it that way when they travel to Long Beach March 26.

Walther’s athletes know what it takes to beat the Bearcats, but it wont be an easy task with Long Beach backed into a corner.

“We talked before (the first) game that this isn’t the same thing as playing Gulfport or Hancock like we did last week. Not in terms of the quality of the teams, but that it matters a lot more now. I think we’re well aware of that. We know some of the mistakes we made and we’ll work on those this week (before the game),” Walther said.