Host Wildcats one of four teams vying for prestigous 2013 Region XXIII title

            POPLARVILLE — Pearl River Community College plays host to the 2013 Region XXIII Baseball Tournament Thursday through Saturday (possibly including Sunday) here in Wildcat Stadium.
            Fourth-seeded PRCC (39-12), the MACJC South Division regular-season champion, earned  hosting rights via its 7-3 win over Northwest Mississippi in the opening round of the MACJC State Tournament before being eliminated with a 7-6 (10 innings) loss to eventual state champ East Central and a 16-4 (six innings) setback to NWCC.
            Other teams in the double-elimination tournament include (listed by seeding):
 NO. 1 EAST CENTRAL (31-19): Demolished Northeast Mississippi 19-1 in the opening round at state, dropped PRCC, then de-feated NWCC 4-0 for the state title.
 NO. 2 LSU-EUNICE (45-8): The defending Region XXIII cham-pions are ranked No. 1 in the latest NJCAA Division II baseball poll.
 NO. 3 NORTHWEST MISSISSIPPI (31-16): Eliminated  rival NEMCC with a 3-0 victory in the state second round.
            PRCC head coach Josh Hoffpauir is amidst his third season with the Wildcats, while East Central’s Neal Hollimon and Northwest’s Mark Carson are in their eighth seasons with their respective teams. LSU-E’s Jeff Willis is in his 11th year.
            Tournament play kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Thursday with LSU-Eunice facing Northwest (Game 1), followed by East Central versus Pearl River at 7 p.m. (Game 2). Friday’s action sees the LSU-E-NWCC loser versus the PRCC-ECCC loser at 3:30 p.m. (Game 3), while the NWCC-LSU-E winner takes on the ECCC-PRCC winner at 7 p.m. (Game 4). On Saturday, the Game 4 loser will face the Game 3 winner in the loser’s bracket at 3:30 p.m., while the title bout is set for 7 p.m. (if a second game is needed, it will be played Sunday at 2 p.m.).
            The regional champion will earn a berth in the NJCAA Division II World Series set May 26 through June 1 at David Allen Memorial Ballpark in Enid, Okla.
            Pearl River last won a Region XXIII baseball title in 2002 under then-head coach Jay Artigues, who is now head coach at Southeastern Louisiana in Hammond.

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