National Champion Pearl River honored at Governor’s Mansion
Published 10:34 am Tuesday, September 27, 2022
JACKSON, Miss. — The Pearl River baseball National Championship tour made its way to the State Capitol Monday as the Wildcats were graciously invited by Governor Tate Reeves and Mississippi’s First Lady Elee Reeves to visit the Governor’s Mansion in downtown Jackson.
“We were honored for Governor Tate Reeves and Mississippi’s First Lady Elee Reeves to open their home to our baseball program,” PRCC President Dr. Adam Breerwood said. “To be invited to the Governor’s mansion and be recognized for winning the National Championship will be a lifelong memory for these young men. Recognitions of this magnitude reiterate to our players that their accomplishment not only represented Pearl River Community College but the entire state of Mississippi.
“The vast majority of these players will live, work and reside in our great state for their entire lives. I know they were all humbled and grateful for the members of our State’s Legislature who were in attendance. Today will serve as motivation for our players to keep working hard and representing our college and state to the highest of standards.”
The National Champions were given the opportunity to tour the historic mansion, which is the second oldest governor’s residence in active use in the United States.
Following the grand tour, the Wildcats visited with Governor Reeves before having a meal that was provided by the Mississippi Highway Patrol cooking team.
“It was a tremendous honor for our program and college to be recognized by Governor Tate Reeves today,” Pearl River baseball coach Michael Avalon said. “Our players heard many times today ‘Thank you for representing the state of Mississippi and we are proud of you’. We are very thankful and humbled by all of this. Thank you to Governor Reeves and all in attendance for celebrating these young men and their accomplishments.”
In attendance for the function were State Senators Mike Seymour, Angela Hill and Chris Johnson and State Representatives Brent Anderson, Joseph Tubb, Larry Byrd, Jay McKnight and Stacey Wilkes.
A SEASON FOR THE AGES
After claiming the MACCC Championship — for a second consecutive year — and the Region 23 Tournament title, Pearl River capped the season with a 5-1 record in Enid, Oklahoma, to claim the program’s first National Championship. Despite falling in Game 1 of the Championship Series, PRCC rallied to out-score Madison 26-3 in the next two games to claim the 2022 NJCAA Division II National Championship in decisive fashion. With the 7-2 win in the deciding game, PRCC became just the second Mississippi program to win the NJCAA baseball national championship. The Wildcats finished the year 45-11 overall.
The Wildcats began raking in awards after the season ended. Pearl River skipper Michael Avalon was named ABCA/ATEC National Coach of the Year, ABCA/ATEC Regional Coach of the Year and MACCC Coach of the Year. Soon after, PRCC assistant coach Slater Lott was named ABCA NJCAA DII Assistant Coach of the Year.
Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) earned the ABCA/Rawlings DII Player of the Year and the NJCAA DII Player of the year recognitions. Parker was named an NJCAA All-American, becoming the first two-time honoree in program history. His teammate, Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike), was also named an All-American.
Parker, Perry and Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) were named to the All-Region 23 squads. Before claiming the program’s first National Championship, eight Wildcats earned All-MACCC selections.
Parker and Broadus were named First Team. Perry, Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana), D.K. Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) and Turner Swistak (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) earned Second Team selections. Cole Tolbert (Laurel; West Jones) and Leif Moore (Biloxi; St. Martin) were Honorable Mentions.