Pearl River number 1 splits from historic rival Gulf Coast – Picayune

PERKINSTON, Miss. — Pearl River’s No. 1 baseball team could have bowed their heads after falling in the first game of the day 9-7, but instead dominated the second game of the day 9-2 to separate themselves from rival Gulf Coast.

“I think a lot of the character of the team comes through now,” head coach Michael Avalon said. “It’s a hell of a job to beat the first game on the road and turn around and dominate the second game. I’m proud of that.

“When I met them, you didn’t get the feeling that they were happy with it. They knew that was not what we had come here to do. It’s a tough league and we’re happy to come out of here with a win.

Gulf Coast (10-15 overall; 5-5 MACCC) took the lead first in the game, tackling three runs on four singles to make it 3-0.

Pearl River’s offense (20-6; 8-2 MACCC) finally woke up in the fourth set, battling to regain the 4-3 lead. Alex Perry (McComb; North Pike) started the inning with a single and Matt Mercier (Richton; Petal) followed with a walk. Ian Montz (Lafayette, Louisiana; Acadiana) then walked to home plate and returned the ball to where it came from to score a run. Two withdrawals later DK Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) walked to charge the bases a first shot error Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison) and a two-point brace from Gabe Broadus (Wilmer, Ala.; Faith Academy) rounded out the inning.

The Bulldogs regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth, using two errors and a two-run homer to go ahead 8-4.

With two runners in the top of the sixth, Broadus crushed a 1-0 shot over center back Bulldog’s head to cut the deficit to 8-6.

A sacrificed fly resulted in an insurance run for the Bulldogs in the bottom of the sixth to make it 9-6. Half an inning later, Pearl River got that comeback with a ground fly from the batting stick. Logan Walters (Petal), reducing the deficit to two at 9-7.

PRCC got the first two runners on base to open the ninth inning, but couldn’t stretch on all runs, losing 9-7.

Turner Switchak (Hattiesburg; Oak Grove) pitched two innings, allowing four hits and two earned runs. He scratched one. Landen Payne (Ocean Springs; St. Martin) pitched 2 1/3 innings, striking out two on three earned runs, two hits and two walks. Blake Hooks (Petal) pitched a relief inning, allowing one hit, one run and two walks. Bobby Magee (Petal) pitched 1 2/3 innings while striking out two on one hit and one walk. Dakota Lee (Purvis) threw an inning and walked one.

Broadus led the way offensively with three hits and four RBIs. Perry and Montz each had two hits.

The Bulldogs pounced on the Wildcats again early in the game, hitting a two-run homer over the left field wall to take a 2-0 lead.

Mercer made up for its 0-for-3 run in Game 1 by hitting a missile home run on the left field wall, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

Hooks opened the third frame with a six-pitch walk and Broadus followed by lining up a ball past the MGCCC third baseman. A good base run from Hooks allowed him to advance to third place. Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison) then stepped up to the plate and drove a ball to the warning lane in left field for a sacrifice fly. After a fierce batting battle, Perry managed to pass a ball to the right side of the infield for a single. Mercer then stepped in and hit his second homer of the day, this time a two-run homer into the opposite field that made it 5-2 for the Wildcats.

Preston Soper (Madison; Germantown) scored an RBI double in the fifth inning to give the Wildcats a 6-2 lead.

After a few quiet innings, Donaldson put the game away in the seventh inning. Montz doubled up and Walters was hit by a pitch before Donaldson unloaded on a fly ball for a three-run homer.

The 9-2 lead was enough for the Wildcats as they held on to share the series with the Bulldogs.

Leif Moore (Biloxi; St. Martin) was dominant on the hill for the PRCC, tossing five innings and striking out five-for-three, two walks and two earned runs.

“Leif came out in the first inning and gave up a two-run homer on an error,” Avalon said. “He could have lowered his head, but he didn’t. It was a great outing once he settled in. It’s the Leif we all love and it’s the Leif we need. Obviously, it won’t be perfect every time.

Cole Tolbert (Laurel; West Jones) came out of the bullpen and was turned off, allowing only one base runner in two innings of work. He struck out four on his appearance.

Mercer led the way offensively in Game 2, going 2 for 4 with two home runs and three RBIs.

“I wasn’t trying to do too much,” Mercer said. “I have a few pitches to hit. I was trying to see something and not chase anything.

Soper was the only other Wildcat with multiple hits in the game.

The Wildcats return to Dub Herring Park on Saturday as East Mississippi makes the trip for a doubleheader at 2 p.m. The Lions currently have a one-game lead over the Wildcats for first place in the MACCC.

Match tickets are available now and can be purchased at

All Pearl River home baseball games are streamed live for free on Fans who have Roku, Amazon Fire or Apple TV devices can also watch Wildcat shows by downloading the “Pearl River CC” channel from their app stores.

The games can also be heard on WRJW 1320-AM, 106.9 FM and

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