POPLARVILLE — Host Pearl River Community college wrapped a remarkable 2013 season with a 5-0 setback to second-seeded and top-ranked LSU-Eunice (La.) to hand the Bengals their second straight regional championship in the Region 23 Tournament here Saturday in Wildcat Stadium.
PRCC, which finished the year at 41-13 overall, opened regional play with a 12-1 win (eight innings) over top-seeded MACJC champion East Central on Thursday before falling into the loser’s bracket via a 7-3 setback to LSU-E 7-3 in the second round on Friday.
The Wildcats rebounded with a 5-3 victory Saturday to end ECCC’s season before ending the year with their shutout loss to the Bengals.
In Saturday’s championship round, LSU-E went up 3-0 in the bottom of the opening frame before adding solo runs in the fourth and eighth innings.
Bengal hurler Zac Person gave up only four hits to The River in the contest — a pair of singles by Kollin Cannon out of St. Stanislaus in Bay St. Louis and base hits by Forrest Dungan of Columbia High and Krisjon Wilkerson, another St. Stanislaus recruit.
LSU-E finished with nine hits, led by Landon Thibodeaux with a double and two singles (one RBI); while Garrett Deschamp (one RBI) and Stefan Trosclair (one RBI) had two base hits each. Buddy McCoy and Evan Powell both singled, while Casey Rodrigue had an RBI.
Person (9-0) got the win in his eight-and-two-thirds innings on the mound with reliever Ryan Domingue retiring the final batter after Person loaded the bases in the ninth. Person gave up all four Wildcat hits, striking out four and walking six.
River starter Christian Talley (9-5), a Southern Miss signee, got the loss. Talley, who prepped at Hancock County High, got the 12-1 opening-round win over ECCC and went five-and-one-third innings against the Bengals; giving up six hits, striking out five, and walking four. Cameron Reynolds of Gulfport High relieved in the sixth, giving up three hits, striking out one, and walking one.
The Wildcats committed three errors in the game to the Bengals’ none.
LSU-E, which has won seven regional titles over the past nine seasons, now heads to the NJCAA Division II World Series set for May 26 through June 1 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla.
PEARL RIVER 5, EAST CENTRAL 3
In its rematch with East Central to opening Saturday’s action, things were scoreless for the first three innings before Pearl River went up 2-0 in the top of the fourth.
Wilkerson led off with a walk and scored an out later off a right field double (winding up at third) by Nathan Pugh of Starkville High, who then scored off a passed ball before starter Severino Signa retired Cannon and Ivan Garcia out of Katy (Tex.) High for the final outs.
That score remained intact until the top of the seventh. After retiring lead off Braxton Lee of Picayune High, Signa was relieved by Brady McBride who immediately saw Darius Knight of Pearl High reach on a mishandled bunt. Paul Pickerrell out of John Hardin High in Elizabethtown, Ky., then walked and Knight scored PRCC’s third run when Wilkerson reached on a fielder’s choice before Dungan fouled out.
Mitchell Wooten relieved McBride with one out and a runner on in the top of the eighth and retired two straight for the final outs.
ECCC tied it up in the bottom of the inning when lead off Ryan Shotts singled and Wildcat starter Jake Brumfield out of Adams Christian Academy in Natchez belted with Kalik May with a pitch. Deione Ulmer then reached on a fielder’s choice with May sliding safely into second to load the bases.
After Brumfield struck out Chase Domino, Rubert Alcantara hit an RBI sacrifice to center and Xzavier Franklin pushed in the tying runs when he reached on an error. Franklin was nailed at second on an attempted steal to end the inning.
But Pearl River responded. Lead off Lee cranked things up when he reached on a muffed third strike, moved to second on a passed ball, and on to third when Knight outran a bunt for a base hit. Jordan Mixon relieved Wooten at that point and immediately gave up an RBI double to the right field wall to Pickerrell before intentionally walking Wilkerson to load the bases.
Knight scored off Dungan’s fly out to left to make it 5-3. Pugh followed with a base hit to right, Cannon reached on a fielder’s choice, and Mixon K’d Garcia for the final out.
Brumfield struck out lead off John Morgan Berry in the bottom of the frame before walking Jake Bush and belting Shotts with a pitch an out later. May then fouled down the left field line to end the game and the Warriors’ season.
Brumfield (9-0) got the win in going the distance, giving up four hits, striking out five, and walking two; while Signa (7-5) got the loss in his six-and-one-third innings on the mound. He gave up for hits, struck out three, and walked five before McBride took over in the seventh. McBride went an inning, giving up two hits and a walk, while Woodrow pitched two-thirds of an inning in the eighth, giving up a hit and striking out one. Mixon gave up two hits in the ninth, striking out one and walking one.
Pugh paced The River’s nine-hit effort with a double and two singles, while Knight had three base hits, Pickerrell doubled (one RBI), and Brown and Lee both singled. Dungan had an RBI for the Wildcats.
Domino, Shotts, Terrance Steele, and Ulmer singled for the Warriors; while Alcantara had an RBI.
Both teams committed three errors each in the contest.
LSU-EUNICE 7, PEARL RIVER 3
The Wildcats fell into the loser’s bracket with their 7-3 setback to LSU-E in Friday’s nightcap game, digging themselves a five-run hole in the bottom of the opening inning and never recovered.
PRCC scored a pair of runs in the top of the third to make it 5-2, but the Bengals answered with a solo run in the bottom of the frame. The River scored its final run in the top of the sixth, while LSU-E ended the scoring with a solo run in the bottom of the eighth.
Starter Chad Reeves (9-1) got the win in his five-and-two-thirds innings on the mound, giving up six hits, striking out four, and walking six; while Trae Hester relieved in the sixth. He went three-and-a-third, giving up a hit, striking out five, and walking three.
Wildcat starter Ryan Deemes (9-4), a Nicholls State (La.) signee who prepped at Holy Cross High in Chalmette, La., got the loss in his two-and-two-thirds innings; giving up three hits, striking out three, and walking five. Southern Miss signee Brandon Fry out of Nease High in Jacksonville, Fla., relieved in the third; going two-and-two-thirds, giving up a hit, striking out one, and walking four; while Reynolds relieved in the seventh. He went two-and-two-thirds, giving up three hits, striking out one, and walking one.
Wilkerson paced PRCC’s six-hit effort with a double and a single (one RBI), while Garcia had two base hits and Knight (one RBI) and Lee (one RBI) both singled.
The Bengals finished with seven hits, led by Thibodeaux’s double and single. Tyler Chapman doubled, while Adam Angelle, Derek Herrington, McCoy (three RBIs), and Rodrigue all had base hits. Deschamp and Powell both had RBIs for LSU-E.
Both teams played error-free.