No. 1 PRCC sweeps Coastal Alabama South; secures best start in Avalon era
Published 9:24 am Wednesday, February 15, 2023
POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Backed by incredible pitching performances, the No. 1 Pearl River baseball team swept Coastal Alabama South on Tuesday at Dub Herring Park to secure the best start to a season in the Michael Avalon era, beating last season’s 7-0 start. The Wildcats took game one 6-1 and grabbed the nightcap 6-2.
The Wildcat pitching staff allowed three runs on the day, none of which were earned. They also struck out 20 batters in the doubleheader.
“We didn’t give up an earned run all day,” Avalon said. “That team has seen a lot of incredible arms so far this year. They may have the toughest schedule that anyone in the country has played, so far. For our pitchers to go out and succeed like this, I was very proud of them.”
Pearl River (8-0 overall) scored its first run of the day early in the game. Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) drew a walk and then advanced on a slowly hit ground ball off the bat of Blaise Breerwood (Poplarville). Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) drove him home in his at-bat. The Tennessee signee laced a ball along the ground and down the right field line for an RBI double and a 1-0 lead.
The bottom of the third inning saw the Wildcats add three more runs, 4-0. Perry came in to score with the help of an Ian Montz (Lafayette, La.; Acadiana) ground out. With Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) standing on second base, Blake Hooks (Petal) stepped to the dish and roped a ball down the left field line for an RBI double. Parker Ryan (Madison; Jackson Academy) stepped to the dish in the next at-bat and smacked an opposite-field single to bring home Hooks.
Cortez Dennis (Wiggins; Stone County) was on cruise control in the top of the fourth inning as he quickly forced two groundouts before striking out the final batter of the inning. PRCC had a good scoring chance in the bottom half of the frame, but a double play turned by the Sun Chiefs kept the Wildcats off the board.
CAS (1-7) plated its first run of the contest in the fifth inning due to a pair of Wildcat miscues, cutting the lead to 4-1.
PRCC scored a run in each of the seventh and eighth innings, to increase its lead to 6-1. In the seventh, Logan Walters (Petal) led off the inning with a single and advanced to second on an error. Hooks promptly stepped to the dish and drove him home with a hard-hit single into left field. Pearl River did its damage with two outs in the eighth inning. Two-out walks by Soper, Perry and Walters loaded the bases and a wild pitch allowed Perry to cross home plate.
Byrion Robinson (Brookhaven) and Hooks combined to throw a scoreless ninth inning to give the Wildcats a 6-1 victory.
Hooks finished with a pair of hits and two RBIs. Broadus, Breerwood, Perry, Walters and Ryan each tallied hits in the contest. Soper walked four times.
Dennis pitched five innings and struck out five against two hits, one unearned run and one walk. Magee tossed three incredible innings in relief, allowing one hit and two walks while striking out five.
Robinson threw 2/3 of an inning and Hooks collected the final out.
Cooper Cooksey (Waveland; Bay) had to work his way out of some trouble in the first inning of the night. After inducing a pair of groundouts to second base to start the game, a single and a double by Coastal Alabama South set a pair of runners in scoring position. Cooksey then showed off his artistic talent by painting a fastball on the outside corner of the zone for a called strike three.
In the bottom of the first, the Wildcats stretched across a trio of runs. The first crossed the plate after an error by the Sun Chiefs. The next run scored on a perfectly executed hit-and-run. Perry broke for second and Soper smashed a line drive past the second baseman to allow Breerwood to cross home plate. Perry advanced to third on the play and came around to score after an error.
PRCC added two more in the third to extend its lead to 5-0. Walters smashed a line drive back toward the pitcher that bounced off his glove, resulting in a single. A few plays later, Walters scored on a Sun Chief wild pitch. After Hunter Sute(Tuscaloosa, Ala.; American Christian Academy) reached base on a walk, Conner Ware (Madison; Germantown) smashed a single into right field to drive him in.
Breerwood opened the fourth by getting hit by a pitch and stole second. Perry moved him over with a ground out. That’s when arguably sophomore first baseman Soper stepped to the dish and smashed an RBI double off the centerfield wall, extending the lead, 6-0.
PRCC kept CAS off the scoreboard until the top of the ninth inning where the Sun Chiefs plated a pair of runs before Landen Payne (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) closed the door.
Cooksey shined in his start, pitching five innings and striking out six against four hits and three walks. He allowed no runs on the way to his second victory over the year. JT Schnoor (Pascagoula; Resurrection) tossed an inning in relief, striking out one and allowing one walk. Payne pitched the final inning, allowing a pair of unearned runs and striking out three Sun Chief batters.
Soper led the way for the Wildcats with two hits and two RBIs. Breerwood, Walters and Ware each had hits in the contest.
The Wildcats head to Pensacola, Fla. on Saturday for a pair of games against Pensacola State and Coastal Alabama South. First pitch is set for 2 p.m. The games will be livestreamed at PirateNetwork.live.