Pearl River Community College baseball pulled off some postseason magic Wednesday night in the opening round of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.
The Wildcats overcame a 4-0 deficit against No. 1-ranked Jones County, battling back to tie the game on a dramatic home run by pinch hitter John Moore, then won it in the 10th inning 5-4 on Lucas Scott’s RBI single.
With the win, PRCC (28-18) will battle fifth-seeded Hinds in the winners’ bracket at 6 p.m. Thursday. JCJC (44-3) faces East Central at noon in an elimination game.
“We knew if we could get past the first two or three innings without them knocking us out, that we had a chance,” said PRCC coach Michael Avalon.
“When we came in here, there were three things we asked them to do. We asked them to play hard, play tough and believe. That’s it.”
For the first two innings, it was business as usual for Jones. The Bobcats got a solo home run in the bottom of the first, then scored three runs in the second off Wildcat starter Peyton Lee.
But Lee got out of a bases-loaded jam to end the second, and in the top of the third, fortunes turned around for the Wildcats.
With one out, Bryson Medious popped up a ball behind home plate that Bobcat pitcher Ben Stiglets failed to catch. Given a reprieve, Medious smacked a 3-2 pitch over the leftfield fence for a two-run home run.
“I was seeing his pitches pretty good, but I was just off,” said Medious. “When he dropped the foul, I knew I had a good chance; I knew he had to come in to me. I just squared up and hit it out.”
Lee settled down and gave the Wildcats six innings, allowing just three hits and no runs in his last four innings of work. Parker Dungan pitched two innings of scoreless, hitless relief, striking out two.
PRCC closed the margin to 4-3 in the sixth on three singles, the last one by Donte Peters to drive in the run.
That set the stage for the late-inning dramatics. With two outs in the top of the ninth and a 1-2 count, Moore pounded a fastball over the rightfield fence off JCJC reliever Will Freeman (3-1) for a stunning, game-tying home run.
The Wildcats scored the winning run in the 10th when Simon Landry doubled with one out and Lucas Scott delivered a two-out RBI single.
“We all had heart, we all knew we could win this game,” said Scott. “We got up there and got the job done.”
Freshman Colby White (6-2) came on in the ninth with all the momentum, and struck out five of the six batters he faced, including striking out the heart of the Bobcats’ order in the 10th to nail down the victory.
“Peyton throws really hard, then Parker is more of a spot-up, off-balance guy,” said White. “So that set up well for me going from Parker back to me. They were stuck on a lefty with movement and they weren’t ready for the heat.”
In the earlier meeting this season, Hinds swept the Wildcats at Poplarville 13-1 and 3-1. In other tournament action, Hinds defeated LSU-Eunice 6-2 and Northwest downed East Central 8-1.
PRCC BASEBALL LINESCORE
NJCAA Region 23 Tournament
Wednesday at Ellisville
Pearl River 5, Jones County 4 (10 innings)
Pearl River 002 001 001 1 – 5 10 2
Jones County 130 000 000 0 – 4 9 0
PEARL RIVER (28-18): Bryson Medious HR (2-run); Simon Landry 2B, 1B; Graham Hackbarth 1B; Lucas Scott 2B, 2 1B; Donte Peters 1B; Logan Walters 1B; John Moore HR (solo). WP – Colby White (6-2) 5 Ks. Also pitching – Peyton Lee (starter); Parker Dungan.
JONES COUNTY (44-3): Fred Franklin 1B; Shelton Wallace 2B; Erick Hoard HR (solo); Jonathan Parker 2 1B; Jacob Hiatt 2B; Luther Woullard 1B; Hudson Harris 2 1B. LP – Wil Freeman (3-1). Also pitching – Ben Stiglets (starter).