MOORHEAD, Miss. — No. 4 Pearl River couldn't come up with the timely hits when it needed them most Saturday, falling at Delta 5-4 in Game 1 and 7-6 in Game 2.
"Credit to them. They played well and were ready to play and we weren't. That's a reflection of me and we'll make sure we do a better job of that moving forward. We need to get a lot better and we know that," Avalon said. "We played their record and not the game. That's something we have to learn.
"We have some guys who need to continue to grow and mature and part of that is understanding you have to show up every day and give your best."
Game 1: MDCC 5, PRCC 4
Pearl River (22-7 overall, 7-5 MACJC) pounced on the Trojans (13-15, 5-9) early but couldn't pile on when it had the chance in Game 1. Wiley Cleland (Columbia; Columbia Academy) put the Wildcats up 2-0 in the first on a single that scored Matt Taylor (Raleigh) and Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central). Izzio's sacrifice fly in the second scored Deyton Lingle (Lake) to extend PRCC's lead to 3-0.
The Trojans scored twice in the bottom of the second inning, but a fielding error in the fourth allowed Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg) to score, extending PRCC's lead to 4-2.
MDCC tacked on a run in the third, tied the game with a homer in the fourth and then went ahead for good in the eighth on a bases loaded comebacker.
Every starter reached base in the game, with Lingle leading the team with three singles while Cleland, Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) and Luke Harper (Meridian; Northeast Lauderdale) all had two hits. Where the Wildcats struggled, however, was getting the timely hit as they ended up leaving 13 runners on base.
Reece Ewing (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) started the game before giving way to Wes Starr (Auburn, Ala.). Colin Danley (Lucedale; East Central) and Jerod Meggs (Kosciusko) also pitched for Pearl River.
Game 2: MDCC 7, PRCC 6
After Delta took an early 1-0 lead in the first the Wildcats took a brief lead in the second inning. Cleland snapped a three-way tie for the team lead in homers when he sent his ninth of the season out of the park to lead off the frame. Donaldson later scored on a wild pitch to put PRCC ahead 2-1.
Delta jumped back ahead 4-2 after plating three runs in the second and extended their lead to 5-2 with another run in the third.
Pearl River loaded the bases in the fifth and pulled within one, 5-4, when Taylor was plunked and Magruder O'Bannon (Gulfport; St. Stanislaus) grounded out.
Delta responded with two big insurance runs in the bottom of the fifth, pushing its lead to 7-4.
The Wildcats showed life in the seventh inning thanks to a Taylor solo home run and a Reis Trager (Hurley; East Central) double that scored Izzio.
Taylor led PRCC with two RBIs.
The Wildcats recently announced plans to host the inaugural Alumni Day on April 27 prior to the team's 2 p.m. doubleheader against Coahoma at Dub Herring Park. Any former Wildcats who are interested in participating in the festivities — which include a brunch, home run derby, tour of new facilities, crawfish lunch and tickets to the games — are asked to register at PRCCBaseballCamps.com.
After an extended road trip away from home, PRCC will finally return to Dub Herring Park on Wednesday for a 3 p.m. doubleheader against East Central.