POPLARVILLE – Pearl River Community College showed its mettle in a pair of hard-fought games in the Wildcat Invitational Friday at Wildcat Field.
PRCC scored three runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to get past Baton Rouge 8-7 in its first game of the day. However, the Wildcats came up short after rallying from a seven-run deficit in a 9-6 defeat to LSU-Eunice.
The tournament was scheduled to be played Friday and Saturday, but it was shorted to one day because of expected rainy weather on Saturday.
Pearl River (2-2 overall) spotted Baton Rouge a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run home run but got a run back in the bottom of the inning on back-to-back doubles by redshirt freshman Destiny Wesley and freshman Elizabeth Taggard (Saucier).
The Wildcats grabbed the lead in the bottom of the second with a four-run rally. A walk and a two-run homer by freshman Neely McLeod (Lucedale) got the rally going. Two more runs scored on a two-base error off the bat of Wesley and a groundout by Taggard.
The Bears chipped away at the Wildcats’ three-run lead with a run in the fourth and one in the fifth off PRCC starter Dallas Blaker, a freshman from Bay St. Louis.
Freshman Rylee Swilley (Kiln) came on in relief and retired the Bears in order in the sixth, but a Wildcat error to lead off the top of the seventh and a double by BRCC tied it at 5-5, and PRCC was unable to score in the bottom of the inning.
The game was played under international tiebreaker rules, in which the batter who made the last out in the seventh started the eighth inning at second base. That led to two runs by the Bears on a two-out homer.
However, the Wildcats started the bottom of the eighth with McLeod at second, and she scored on a single by sophomore Ilyssa Easton (Hurley).
Singles by Wesley and Taggard loaded the bases, Easton scored on a fielder’s choice off the bat of freshman Mary Grace Turner (Leakesville) for the tying run and sophomore Halle Melone (Oklahoma City, Okla.) drove in the winning run with a double.
The last game of the tournament featured the preseason No. 1-ranked Bengals, the two-time defending NJCAA Division II World Series champion, against the host Wildcats.
It was PRCC that drew first blood, however, as sophomore Anna Grace Cooley (Lucedale) drew a leadoff walk in the bottom of the first, and she scored after being sacrificed to second, stealing third, then coming home on a single by Taggard.
LSUE grabbed the lead in the top of the second with two runs on back-to-back doubles, two Wildcat errors and a run-scoring single.
Easton made it 2-2 in the bottom of the second on a run-scoring single, but the Bengals got a two-run homer in the third and scored five runs in the fifth, chasing PRCC sophomore starter Olivia Holley (Biloxi).
Pearl River came right back in the bottom of the fifth, though, with a four-run rally to climb back into the game.
Three singles to open the inning by Taggard, sophomore Rylee Dawsey (Picayune) and sophomore Ramee Taylor (Hurley) loaded the bases and two runs came home on a pinch-hit double by freshman Jordan Lee (Redwood). Blaker followed with a two-run single.
The Wildcats got a runner on base in each of the final two innings but were unable to cut into the margin any further.
PRCC is scheduled to host Coastal Alabama-North at 1 p.m. Monday, in a doubleheader rescheduled from Thursday.
The Wildcats then head for Gulf Shores, Ala. next weekend for the Sun Chief Classic. They will play two games on Friday, at 1:30 p.m. against Shelton State (Ala.) and at 3:45 p.m. against Chattanooga State (Tenn.), and a pair of games Saturday, at 9 a.m. against Trinity Valley (Texas) and at 11:15 a.m. against Snead State (Ala.).
(Photo courtesy of Russell Turner)
Pearl River sophomore Ramee Taylor slides across home plate safely during action earlier this season.
Friday at Poplarville
Pearl River 8, Baton Rouge (La.) 7 (8 innings)
BRCC 200 110 12 – 7 9 2
PRCC 140 000 03 – 8 12 2
BATON ROUGE (1-5): Blayne Pence 2 2B, 1B; Hallie Autin HR (2-run); Shelby McDonald 1B; Sydnee McCall 1B; Sara Tate HR (2-run); Emily Morin 1B; Sydnee Davis 1B. LP – Shelby Breaux. Also pitching – Renee Firmin (starter); Sydney McCall.
PEARL RIVER (2-1): Anna Grace Cooley 1B; Ilyssa Easton 1B; Destiny Wesley 3B, 2B, 1B; Elizabeth Taggard 2B, 1B; Halle Melone 2B; Alyssa Pinero 1B; Dallas Blaker 1B; Neely McLeod HR (2-run). WP – Rylee Swilley (1-1). Also pitching – Dallas Blaker (starter).
LSU-Eunice 9, Pearl River 6
LSUE 022 050 0 – 9 13 2
PRCC 110 040 0 – 6 11 3
LSU-EUNICE (8-7): Kelci Bodin 2 1B; Haley Godeaux 3 1B; Ally Howard 1B; Emily Henderson 1B; McKenzie King 2 2B, 1B; Mima Doucet HR (2-run), 2B (3 RBI); Darian Doucet 2B. WP – Jeanne Trahan. Save – Heather Zumo. Also pitching – Heidi Zumo.
PEARL RIVER (2-2): Ilyssa Easton 2 1B; Elizabeth Taggard 2 1B; Rylee Dawsey 1B; Ramee Taylor 2B, 2 1B; Jordan L ee 2B; Olivia Holley 1B; Dallas Blaker 1B. LP – Olivia Holley (1-1). Also pitching – Dallas Blaker.