Pearl River Community College finally ran out of miracles Friday night as the Wildcats saw their 2017 season come to an end with an 11-3 defeat at the hands of Hinds in the semifinal round of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Ellisville.
PRCC advanced to Friday’s late game by edging Northwest Mississippi earlier on Friday, winning 10-8 in a 10-inning thriller. Pearl River finished its first season under head coach Michael Avalon with a 29-20 overall record.
“I think fatigue was a factor, especially with our pitchers,” said Avalon. “We’re running guys back out there for the second time on a hot day, and that’s tough.
“But this is a special group of guys. They laid the foundation, and walked on it too. We’re very proud of them for the way they kept battling back.”
PRCC rallied from deficits of 4-0, 7-4 and 8-7 against Northwest, finally taking the lead in the 10th inning.
The Rangers roughed up Wildcat started Parker Dungan for four runs in the bottom of the first inning, with two runs scoring on two errors and other on a wild pitch.
But the Wildcats immediately responded with a four-run rally in the top of the second. Noah Nicaud had a run-scoring single and Simon Landry drove in two runs with a single to tie it up.
Dungan and Northwest lefty Dalton Minton then traded zeroes until the bottom of the sixth, when the Rangers regained the lead with a pair of runs. Northwest added another run in the seventh, but PRCC scored three runs in the top of the eighth to tie it again.
John Moore had a pinch-hit single to drive in one run, Bryson Medious drove in a run with a sacrifice fly and the tying run came in on a botched pickoff play to first base.
NWCC regained the lead in the bottom of the eighth, but Austin Moffett scored Graham Hackbarth with the tying run in the top of the ninth, after Hackbarth drew a one-out walk.
“I had been seeing the ball good the whole day,” said Moffett, who had three hits for the Wildcats. “I told Coach Avalon that if it got back to me that I was going to score the run. He believed in me and gave me the chance.”
The Wildcats won it in the 10th inning when Medious and Peyton Lee led off the inning with back-to-back triples, and Landry added an RBI single.
Luke Bradley (4-0) got the win with two innings of scoreless relief. He retired the Rangers in order in the ninth, and pitched around a leadoff double in the 10th.
Moffett and Landry each had three hits for PRCC, and Jonathan Turner had four singles.
The Wildcats also fell behind early in the game against Hinds. The Eagles touched up PRCC starter Colby White (6-3) for a two-run home run in the bottom of the first, then scored four unearned runs in the second on two Wildcat errors.
This time, however, a comeback wasn’t in the cards. Pearl River got a solo homer from Noah Nicaud in the fifth and back-to-back solo homers by Lee and Landry to open the sixth and ignite a flicker of hope for the Wildcats.
However, with the bases loaded and two out, Hackbarth was picked off first base, and the umpires ruled that the tag was applied before Lucas Scott could score from third base.
And the Eagles regained the momentum in the bottom of the sixth with a solo homer off White, and Hinds added a run in the seventh and three more in the eighth to end the game on the run rule.
“One of the things I said at the start of the year was for us to maximize our potential,” Avalon said. “I think if you ask everybody, they’ll say this group did that.
“We had adversity, we had injuries, and through all of that, we did the best we could, and that’s something for our guys to hold their heads high about.”
PRCC BASEBALL LINESCORES
NJCAA Region 23 Tournament
Friday at Ellisville
Pearl River 10, Northwest Mississippi 8 (10 innings)
Pearl River 040 000 031 2 – 10 15 3
Northwest 400 002 110 0 – 8 16 3
PEARL RIVER (29-19): Bryson Medious 3B; Peyton Lee 3B; Simon Landry 2B, 2 1B (3 RBIs); Lucas Scott 3B; Jonathan Turner 4 1B; Austin Moffett 2B, 2 1B; Noah Nicaud 1B; John Moore 1B. WP – Luke Bradley (4-0). Also pitching Parker Dungan (starter); Camden Dusang.
NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI (32-19): David Herrington 4 1B; Dakota Dailey 1B; Aaron Campbell 2B, 2 1B; Spencer Cayten 2B, 1B (3 RBIs); Grant McMinn 1B; Brooks Boolos 3 1B; Brody Catt 2B; Zack Pope 1B. LP – Nathan Harrison (3-6). Also pitching – Dalton Minton (starter); J.G. Lipscomb; Drew Hurst.
Hinds 11, Pearl River 3 (8 innings)
Pearl River 000 012 00 – 3 5 3
Hinds 240 001 13 – 11 14 0
PEARL RIVER (29-20): Peyton Lee HR (solo); Simon Landry HR (solo); Lucas Scott 1B; Austin Moffett 1B; Noah Nicaud HR (solo). LP – Colby White (6-3). Also pitching – Luke Bradley; Cody Lee; Jason Garrett.
HINDS (33-16): Braeden Barrett HR (2-run), 2B, 1B (3 RBIs); Jackson Mitchell HR (solo), 1B; Quinton Logan 3 1B; Kyle Schimpf 2B, 1B (3 RBIs); Will Pierce 1B; Staton Todd 2 1B; Acy Owen 1B. WP – Caleb Morgan (8-1). Also pitching – Dylan Henderson; Brandon Ross.
(Photos by Stan Caldwell/ PRCC Sports Information)
Top: Pearl River first baseman Simon Landry looks a pitch low in the strike zone during action Friday against Northwest in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Ellisville.
Bottom: Pearl River pitcher Parker Dungan fires to the plate during action Friday against Northwest in the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament at Ellisville.