River falls short at Northeast in best-of-three playoff series to wrap 2014 season at 27-22

BOONEVILLE --- Pearl River couldn’t grab a berth in the MACJC State Tournament after falling short in a best-of-three playoff series to Northeast Mississippi, which earned hosting rights to the event with Saturday’s deciding 12-11 victory over the Wildcats.
            PRCC, the South Division’s No. 3 seed which wrapped its season with the setback, finished the year at 27-22, while the host North No. 2 Tigers are now 27-18.
            The Wildcats fell 9-8 in the opening series game on Friday, but rebounded with a convincing 12-6 win in Saturday’s opening game.
            The state tournament is set for Thursday through Saturday on Harold T. White Field in Booneville.
 
GAME THREE / NORTHEAST 12, PEARL RIVER 11
            The Tigers opened the deciding contest like gang busters, jumping out to a 7-0 lead with three in the bottom of the second and two runs in the fourth and fifth frames.
            But Pearl River put together a comeback in the top of the sixth when Tracy Hadley of Pascagoula High and Derrick Mount of Harrison Central High led off the inning with back-to-back singles, setting the stage for a three-run homer by Nathan Pugh of Starkville High.
Two outs later, Adam Smith of Pascagoula High singled to center before Kyle Dolan of Forrest Count AHS reached on an error and Darien Brown of Hattiesburg High drove Smith home with a single to left. Lamar Anthony of Vicksburg High followed with an RBI double to left to cut Northeast’s lead to 7-5 before Hadley grounded out.
After the Tigers padded its lead to 9-5 in the bottom of the frame, the Wildcats answered with four in the top of the eighth to knot things up. Dolan led off with a single to right, Brown was beaned with a pitch, and Hadley’s single to left a strikeout later loaded the bases, setting the stage for Mount’s RBI base hit. Pugh pushed a seventh run in with a sacrifice, while Kreg Garner of Northwest Rankin High singled in an eighth.
After Jalen Haskin of Oak Grove High walked to load the corners, Derek Martin was belted with a pitch to push in a game-tying run to make it 9-9.
Northeast’s Easton Hall crushed a three-run homer to pump the Tigers lead to 12-9 in the bottom of the frame.
Pearl River came within a Wildcat whisker of pushing the contest into extra innings in the ninth. With two outs, Hadley was hit by a pitch, Mount reached on an error, and Pugh smacked an RBI base hit to right field. Garner followed with an RBI single to right to make it 12-11, but Haskin struck out to end the game and the season.
Evan Hickman (4-0) got the win in his two innings of relief, giving up five hits, striking out two, and walking one, while starter Ethan Taylor went seven innings, giving up four hits, striking out one and walking one.
Wildcat starter Philip Chandler (4-1) of Stone County High got the loss in his two innings of work, giving up a hit, striking out one, and walking four, while Jacob Taylor of Picayune High pitched two frames, giving up four hits, and recorded a strikeout and a walk. Allen Cowart of Pascagoula High pitched two-thirds of an inning, walking one, and Colton Lee of Pearl River Central pitched five innings of relief, giving up five hits, striking out one, and walking one.
            Garner paced The River’s 15-hit attack with a double and two singles (two RBIs), while Hadley had three base hits, Pugh homered and singled (five RBIs), Mount had two singles (one RBI), Anthony doubled (one RBI), and Brown, Dolan, Haskin, and Smith all had base hits. Martin also had an RBI for the Wildcats.
            NEMCC finished with 10 hits, led by Hall’s homer and single (four RBIs), while Luke Stanley had two singles (three RBIs), Trent Turner tripled (two RBIs), Riley Alef doubled, and Ben Foster, Jack Hurdle (two RBIs), Jordan Montgomery, and Heath Wood all had base hits.
            PRCC committed four errors in the contest to Northeast’s two.
 
GAME TWO / PEARL RIVER 12, NORTHEAST 6
            Pearl River pushed the series into a stalemate with an impressive 12-6 victory to open Saturday’s action.
            Northeast went up 2-0 in the bottom of the first, but The River tied it up in the top of the second when lead off batters Pugh and Garner drew back-to-back walks and Smith reached on an error. Dolan and Brown followed with an RBI singles to knot things at 2-2 before Anthony was K’d for the final out.
            After a scoreless third, the Wildcats took the lead with a solo run when lead off Dolan walked, Brown reached on a fielder’s choice, and Anthony outran a bunt for a base hit. Dolan scored off Hadley’s sacrifice fly before Mount hit into a double play.
            The Tigers retied it in the bottom of the fifth off a Scott Pala single and a Ben Hellums RBI ground out, but the Wildcats took the lead for good in the top of the seventh with a solo home run by Haskin to make it 4-3.
            In the eighth, PRCC powered ahead with a four-run effort. Lead off Brown reached on an error, moved to second of Anthony’s sacrifice, and Hadley singled. Mount crushed an RBI double to left, scoring Hadley, then Pugh walked and Garner was belted by pitch to load the bases. Haskin and Smith drew back-to-back walks to push two more runs home to make it 8-3 before Dolan hit into a double play.
            Northeast’s three runs in the bottom of the frame cut Pearl River’s lead to 8-6, but the Wildcats added four more in the ninth when Brown led off with a single to right, moved to second off Anthony’s sac bunt, and Hadley followed with a two-run homer over the left field wall. After Mount singled to center, Pugh grounded out, but Garner followed with a two-run homer to make it 12-6.
            The Tigers managed a pair of base runners in the bottom of the frame, but Alef grounded out to end the game.
            Starter Brandon Pennington (5-4) of Sumrall High got the win in his seven innings of work, giving up four hits, striking out seven, and walking three, while Luke McGee, an Ohio State transfer out of Wooster (Oh.) High pitched a third of a frame, giving up two hits, striking out one and walking two. Lee pitched one-and-two-thirds innings of relief, giving up two hits and recording a strikeout.
            Starter Cody Bo Dillard (1-3) got the loss in his four innings on the mound, giving up five hits, striking out two, and walking five, while Benn Hellums pitched two-and-two-thirds of relief, giving up four hits and walking three, Caleb Goff one-and-a-third, giving up for hits, and Tanner Whitaker one-third of an inning. Hunt Halford also relieved, giving up a hit and walking one, as did Mason Maxey, walking two.
            Mount paced the Wildcats’ 15-hit effort with two doubles and a single (one RBI), while Garner homered and doubled (two RBIs), Hadley homered and singled (three RBIs), Anthony and Brown had two singles each, Haskin homered (two RBIs), Smith doubled (one RBI), and Dolan (one RBI) and Pugh both had base hits.
            The Tigers finished with eight hits, led by Alef’s double and single (two RBIs), while Scott Pala had two singles, Drew Wray doubled (one RBI), and Hurdle, Montgomery (one RBI), and Wood both singled.
            Pearl River committed four errors in the game to Northeast’s two.
 
GAME ONE / NORTHEAST 9, PEARL RIVER 8
            Pearl River blew a three-run lead in the bottom of the ninth to fall to Northeast Mississippi 9-8 in the opening game of the series Friday.
After a scoreless first inning, the Tigers went up 1-0 in the bottom of the second when Turner led off with a single and Alef drew a walk an out later. The runners advanced on 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 Hurdle reached on a fielder’s choice, but Alef scored the game’s first run when Stanley reached on an error. 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 Dolan smacked a line drive single to left, Brown reached on a fielder’s choice, and Anthony singled to left. Brown and Anthony advanced on a balk by Tiger starter David Gibson before Hadley blasted an RBI double to knot things at 1-1. Gibson retired Mount for the final out.
Garner cracked a one-out double to center in the fourth and courtesy runner Taylor scored when Haskin grounded out 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, Montgomery walked, and Wood singled to load the bases. Stanley and Montgomery scored to tie it up when 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. Martin was hit by a pitch and Mount walked to loaded the bases before Pugh 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 Smith 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. 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. 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. McGee faced a batter in the sixth, while Lee 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.
 
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2014 MACJC STATE BASEBALL BEST-OF-THREE PLAYOFF SERIES
May 2-5 / Northeast Mississippi Community College / Booneville, MS
 
SOUTH NO. 3 PEARL RIVER vs. NORTH NO. 2 NORTHEAST MISS.
Friday, May 2
 
GAME ONE
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
 
HITTERS
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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SOUTH NO. 3 PEARL RIVER vs. NORTH NO. 2 NORTHEAST MISS.
Saturday, May 3
 
GAME TWO
Pearl River         (27-21)   020   100   144  --  12     15     4
Northeast Miss. (26-18)   200   010    030  --   6       8     2
 
WP: Brandon Pennington (5-4), starter, 7 innings, 4 hits, 7 K, 3 BB.
Also Pitching: Luke McGee, .1 inning, 2 hits, 1 K, 2 BB, 3 ER; Colton Lee, 1.2 innings, 2 hits, 1 K.
Catcher: Kreg Garner.
 
LP: Cody Bo Dillard (1-3), 4 innings, 5 hits, 2 K, 5 BB.
Also Pitching: Ben Hellums, 2.2 innings, 4 hits, 3 BB; Landon Boyd, .2 inning, 2 hits; Hunt Halford, 1 hit, 1 BB; Mason Maxey, 2 BB; Caleb Goff, 1.1 innings, 4 hits; Tanner Whitaker, .1 inning.
Catcher: Riley Alef.
 
HITTERS
Pearl River: Derrick Mount 2-2B, 1B (RBI); Kreg Garner HR, 2B (RBI); Tracy Hadley HR, 1B (3 RBI); Lamar Anthony 2-1B, Darien Brown 2-1B, Jalen Haskin HR (2 RBI), Adam Smith 2B (RBI), Kyle Dolan 1B (RBI), Nathan Pugh 1B.
 
Northeast Miss.: Riley Alef 2B, 1B (2 RBI); Scott Pala 2-1B, Drew Wray 2B (RBI), Jack Hurdle 1B, Jordan Montgomery 1B (RBI), Heath Wood 1B.
 
NOTE: Northeast Miss. is the MACJC North Division’s No. 2 seed, Pearl River is the South Division’s No. 3 seed.
 
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SOUTH NO. 3 PEARL RIVER vs. NORTH NO. 2 NORTHEAST MISS.
Saturday, May 3
 
GAME THREE
Pearl River         (27-22)   000   005   042  --  11     15     4
Northeast Miss. (27-18)   030   222    03X  -- 12     10     2
 
WP: Evan Hickman (4-0), 2 innings, 5 hits, 2 K, 1 BB.
Also Pitching: Ethan Taylor, starter, 7 innings, 9 hits 3 K, 2 BB.
Catcher: Riley Alef.
 
LP: Philip Chandler (4-1), starter, 2 innings, 1 hit, 1 K, 4 BB, 3 ER.
Also Pitching: Jacob Taylor, 2 innings, 4 hits, 1 K, 1 BB, 2 ER; Allen Cowart, .2 inning, 1 BB; Colton Lee, 5 innings, 5 hits, 1 K, 1 BB, 3 ER.
Catcher: Kreg Garner.
 
HITTERS
Pearl River: Kreg Garner 2B, 2-1B (2 RBI); Tracy Hadley 3-1B, Nathan Pugh HR, 1B (5 RBI); Derrick Mount 2-1B (RBI), Lamar Anthony 2B (RBI), Darien Brown 1B, Kyle Dolan 1B, Jalen Haskin 1B, Adam Smith 1B. Derek Martin RBI.
 
Northeast Miss.: Easton Hall HR, 1B (4 RBI); Luke Stanley 2-1B (3 RBI), Trent Turner 3B (2 RBI), Riley Alef 2B, Ben Foster 1B, Jack Hurdle 1B (2 RBI), Jordan Montgomery 1B, Heath Wood 1B.
 
NOTE: Pearl River, the MACJC South Division’s No. 3 seed, ends its season, while Northeast Miss., the North Division’s No. 2 seed, earns a berth in next week MACJC State Tournament.
 

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