River falls 9-8 in opening game of best-of-three at Northeast

BOONEVILLE --- Pearl River’s Wildcats blew a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to fall to Northeast Mississippi 9-8 in the opening game of their MACJC best-of-three playoff series here Friday on Harold T. White Field.
The River, the South Division’s No. 3 seed, eyes a rematch and possible elimination with the host Tigers, the North Division’s No. 2 seed, Saturday at 12 noon.
PRCC dropped to 26-21, while NEMCC improved to 26-17.
After a scoreless first inning, the Tigers went up 1-0 in the bottom of the second when Trent Turner led off with a single and Riley Alef drew a walk an out later. The runners advanced on Ben Foster’s sacrifice before Wildcat starter Jake Brumfield out of Adams Christian Academy in Natchez walked Josh Peterson to load the bases
Turner was nailed at home when Jack Hurdle reached on a fielder’s choice, but Alef scored the game’s first run when Luke Stanley reached on an error. Ben Hellums reached on a fielder’s choice to end the inning.
Pearl River tied it up in the top of the third when lead off Kyle Dolan of Forrest County AHS smacked a line drive single to left, Darien Brown of Hattiesburg High reached on a fielder’s choice, and Lamar Anthony of Vicksburg High singled to left. Brown and Anthony advanced on a balk by Tiger starter David Gibson before Tracy Hadley of Pascagoula High blasted an RBI double to knot things at 1-1. Gibson retired Derrick Mount of Harrison Central High for the final out.
Kreg Garner of Northwest Rankin High cracked a one-out double to center in the fourth and courtesy runner Jacob Taylor of Picayune High scored when Jalen Haskin of Oak Grove High grounded to put PRCC up 2-1, then the Wildcats padded their lead to 4-1 in the fifth.
Dolan and Brown led off with back-to-back walks, advanced on Anthony’s sacrifice, and Dolan scored on a wild pitch. Brown scored off Hadley’s ground out before Mount was retired for the final out.
The Tigers retaliated to regain the lead in the sixth with a four-run barrage. Hurdle led off with a solo homer before Stanley singled to center, Jordan Montgomery walked, and Heath Wood singled to load the bases. Stanley and Montgomery scored to tie it up when Easton Hall reached on an error, while Turner push in the go-ahead run when he reached on a fielder’s choice.
Both teams went three up, three down in the seventh, but PRCC tied it up in the eighth. Mount led off with a walk, stole second an out later, and scored off Hadley’s single to right to knot thing at 5-5.
In the ninth, lead off Dolan was belted by a pitch and courtesy runner Justin Demary out of Iowa (La.) High moved to second off Brown’s sacrifice and to third off Anthony’s ground out to short. Derek Martin of Poplarville High was hit by a pitch and Mount walked to loaded the bases before Nathan Pugh of Starkville High was belted by a pitch to pushed the go-ahead run home. Garner’s base on balls made it 7-5, while Haskin reached on an error for an eighth run before Adam Smith of Pascagoula High was retired for the final out.
In the bottom of the frame, the Tigers loaded the bases when Hall led off with a single, Turner was hit by a pitch, and Alef walked. Ben Foster followed with an RBI single to left and Peterson’s and Hurdles’ back-to-back walks pushed in to more runs to knot things at 8-8 before Stanley’s sacrifice scored the game-winning run.
Landon Boyd (2-2) got the win after relieving in the eight. He pitched one-and-two-thirds innings, walking one, while Gibson went four innings, giving up six hits, striking out one, and walking a batter. Dustin Allen pitched two innings of relief, striking out one and walking one, and Townsend Meyers one inning, giving up a hit. Hunt Halford also saw relief duty.
Taylor (3-1) got the loss despite pitching on one-third of an inning of relief, giving up a hit, walking three, and accounting for two earned runs, while Brumfield went the first five-and-a-third, giving up six hits, striking out four, walking three, and giving up three earned runs. Luke McGee, an Ohio State transfer who prepped at Wooster (Oh.) High, faced a batter in the sixth, while Colton Lee of Pearl River Central High went two-and-two thirds, giving up a hit, walking one, and giving up two earned runs.
Hadley paced The River’s seven-hit effort with a double and a single (two RBIs), while Garner doubled (one RBI) and Anthony, Dolan, Haskin (two RBIs), and Smith all had base hits.
Northeast finished with eight hits, led by Turner’s two singles (one RBI), while Hurdle homered (two RBIs) and Alef, Foster, Hall, Stanley (one RBI), and Wood all had base hits. Peterson also had an RBI for the Tigers.
The winner of the best-of-three playoff series earns one of four berths in May 8-10’s (Thursday through Saturday) MACJC State Tournament.
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May 2-5 / Northeast Mississippi Community College / Booneville, MS
Friday, May 2
Pearl River         (26-21)   001   120   013  --  8     7     5
Northeast Miss. (26-17)   010   004   004  --  9     8     3
WP: Landon Boyd (2-2), relieved in 8th, 1.2 innings, 1 BB.
Also Pitching: David Gibson, 4 innings, 6 hits, 1 K, 1 BB; Dustin Allen, 2 innings, 1 K, 1 BB; Townsend Myers, 1 inning, 1 hit; Hunt Halford.
Catcher: Riley Alef.
LP: Jacob Taylor (3-1), relieved in 9th, .1 inning, 1 hit, 3 BB, 2 ER.
Also Pitching: Jake Brumfield, starter, 5.1 innings, 6 hits, 4 K, 3 BB, 3 ER; Luke McGee (6), Colton Lee (6), 2.2 innings, 1 hit, 1 BB, 2 ER.
Catcher: Kreg Garner
Pearl River: Tracy Hadley 2B, 1B (2 RBI), Kreg Garner 2B (RBI), Lamar Anthony 1B, Kyle Dolan 1B, Jalen Haskin 1B (2 RBI), Adam Smith 1B.
Northeast Miss.: Trent Turner 2-1B (RBI), Jack Hurdle HR (2 RBI), Ryan Alef 1B, Ben Foster 1B, Easton Hall 1B, Luke Stanley 1B (RBI), Heath Wood 1B. Josh Peterson RBI.
NOTE: Northeast Miss. is the MACJC North Division’s No. 2 seed, Pearl River is the South Division’s No. 3 seed.
UP NEXT: Pearl River faces elimination in the best-of-three series with Northwest Miss., as the two teams face off in game 2 at 12 noon Saturday on Harold T. White Field in Booneville. If a second game is needed, it will start at 3 p.m.

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