No. 4 Pearl River explodes for 27 runs in home debut

No. 4 Pearl River explodes for 27 runs in home debut

POPLARVILLE, Miss. — No. 4 Pearl River left little doubt who the best team was at Dub Herring Park on Wednesday, run-ruling Coastal Alabama-South in both ends of a doubleheader. PRCC won the opener 14-3 in five innings and then topped the Sun Chiefs 13-0 in the nightcap.

"I thought we played all phases of the game really well. I'm proud of that," Pearl River coach Michael Avalon said. "Both starters went out there and set the tone very, very early. They were locked in and confident."

The sweep was a nice bounce back performance after the Wildcats (2-2 overall) fell to the No. 1 Division I team in the country, Chipola, on Monday.

"It all came down to responding," freshman Taylor Woodcock said. "We got swept Monday. It wasn't that we were mad about it, but we made mistakes on things we've been going over since August. I'm proud of the way we responded, the way the hitters approached the baseball today and the way the starters came out and did what they're supposed to do."

GAME 1: Pearl River 14, Coastal Alabama-South 3 (5 inn.)
The Wildcats scored in bunches in the first.

After starter Cade Hodges (Brookhaven; Loyd Star) threw a 1-2-3 first, his teammates put the Wildcats up four in the bottom of the frame.

Reece Ewing (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) open the frame with a double and then scored on a two-run homer over the left field wall by Bryson Ware (Gluckstadt; Germantown). The Wildcats tacked on two more runs against the Sun Chiefs (1-5) courtesy of a Britt McKay (Wiggins; Ocean Springs) single and Dalton Cummins (Seminary) sacrifice fly.

The Wildcats jumped ahead 10-0 in the third after putting up a six-spot.

Michael Wein (Alpharetta; King's Ridge Christian) started the outburst with a laser of a homer that went into the right field seats. Cummins singled in PRCC's sixth run and Eric Newsom (Madison; Germantown) struck a double that scored another. Following a Nick Skaggs (Biloxi) sacrifice fly that extended PRCC's lead to 8-0, Ewing singled in a run and Ware hit a double that capped the inning's scoring.

PRCC kept it roll in the fourth courtesy. Skaggs hit a two-run double and then Kris Riley (Laurel; West Jones) belted a two-run homer over the center field wall in his season debut.

"I was excited to see that for him," Avalon said. "In my opinion he has lacked confidence (in intrasquads), so when you do that in your first at-bat, maybe that will get him going and get him back to playing to his capabilities. 

"He has a lot of talent."

Cade Hodges (Brookhaven; Loyd Star) picked up the win in his season debut. The right-hander threw four scoreless innings, striking out three against one hit and one walk.

Landon Harper (Lauderdale; Northeast Lauderdale) also made his debut on the mound, allowing CAS's runs on four hits and a walk in one inning. He also struck out two.

Ware led PRCC with three RBIs and three hits. Ewing had two hits. Ewing, Wein, Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison), McKay and Cummins all scored twice. Woodcock walked in all three of his plate appearances.

GAME 2: Pearl River 13, Coastal Alabama-South 0 (5 inn.)
The Wildcats continued to swing hot bats in Game 2.

PRCC scored three runs in the first on a sacrifice fly from Wein and a two-run homer by Woodcock.

Ware doubled PRCC's lead in the second inning with a three-run homer.

The Wildcats exploded for seven runs in the fourth to jump ahead 13-0.

Woodcock hit his second homer of the game, another two-run bomb, to jumpstart the inning. 

"I mess with him about being a smaller guy, but he's a good player," Avalon said. "He's strong and physical and has some sneaky pop on him."

Newsom drove in a run with a double and then scored on a double off the wall from Graham Crawford (Sumrall). PRCC scored its final three runs on wild pitches.

Leif Moore (St. Martin) had a strong debut for the Wildcats, throwing four scoreless innings. Moore allowed only one hit and struck out six, hitting 91 on the stadium radar gun.

"He reminds me a lot of Miles Smith from the last couple of years," Avalon said. "That mentality, the pitchability and stuff are all very comparable. Outings like this are what we expect from him. It wasn't a surprise, but what I liked best was his confidence to attack the hitters and threw all four pitches for strikes."

Moore credited his command of four pitches for his strong Wildcat debut. 

"My fastball was doing what I wanted it to do and I could put my breaking ball where I want it," Moore said. "Today was just an overall good day for me."

Shelby Terrell (Foxworth; West Marion) pitch a scoreless fifth, striking out a batter with one walk.

The Wildcats combined for 12 hits — including four doubles and three homers. Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) led PRCC with three hits and two doubles. 

Ewing led PRCC with three runs scored and two walks.

Woodcock's two long balls were a nice change after the infielder was walked three times in the opener.

"The first game I didn't to swing the bat at all," he said. "I wasn't trying to do too much with the ball, I just wanted to get a barrel on it and put my team in a good situation."

Prior to Wednesday's doubleheader, former Wildcat Colby White threw out the ceremonial first pitch. White was a two-time All-MACJC selection during his time in Poplarville and was a crucial part of PRCC's 2018 MACJC Championship team. After graduating from The River, White starred at Mississippi State for a season before being drafted by the Tampa Bay Rays in the sixth round of the 2019 MLB Draft. 

The Wildcats return to The Dub on Sunday to host Baton Rouge. The doubleheader is set for a 1 p.m. start. 

All home events are broadcast on Anyone who has an Amazon Fire or Roku device can stream PRCC broadcasts by downloading the "Pearl River CC" Channel from the app store. Conference games can also be heard on WRJW 1320 AM, or by downloading the WRJW app. 

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