POPLARVILLE – Pearl River head baseball coach Jamie McMahon takes his Wildcats into MACJC State Tournament play this week at Smith-Wills Stadium in Jackson.This year''s double-elimination tournament, which starts Thursday and ends Saturday, is comprised of all South Division teams as the top four regular-season finishers in the North fell short to South foes in all four of the best-of-three playoff series this past weekend. The playoff series winners earn berths in the state tournament.PRCC bombed North champ Itawamba in Fulton two straight with 10-7 and 13-6 victories to even its overall record to 25-25, while tournament host and South champ Jones County (38-10) followed suit with its lopsided 12-1, 8-0 blowouts over Northwest Mississippi at William Carey University in Hattiesburg. East Central (36-15) dropped its first series game to North runner up Holmes 14-13 in Goodman, but bounced back to eliminate the Bulldogs with a pair of 9-1 and 8-4 wins on Saturday. South runner up Hinds took two straight over Northeast Mississippi 12-2 and 7-2 in Raymond.”We''re playing our best ball of the year right now,” McMahon said, noting his Wildcats committed only one error in this past weekend''s 18 innings of play. “If we can continue playing as well as we have, we can make a lot of noise up there this week.”The Wildcats blew out rival Mississippi Gulf Coast 14-6 in Poplarville May 3 to snap their South Division fourth-place stalemate with the Bulldogs to earn its playoff series berth against ICC.Pearl River split with Jones County March 20 in Poplarville taking a 6-2 loss before bouncing back with a 4-0 shutout victory in the nightcap, but the host Bobcats swept the Wildcats 4-1, 10-3 on April 13. Hinds swept PRCC 2-0, 5-1 March 27 in Raymond, while April 21''s rematch in Poplarville saw a split. The Wildcats lost the first game 3-2 before winning the second 9-3. Against East Central, the two schools traded sweeps. Pearl River swept 6-5, 9-3 March 30 in Poplarville, while the Warriors took 4-3, 6-5 victories April 23 in Decatur.Here is a breakdown of the tournament:THURSDAYGAME 1: Pearl River vs. Hinds, 3 p.m.GAME 2: Jones County vs. East Central, 6 p.m.FRIDAYGAME 3: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 1 p.m.GAME 4: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 4 p.m.GAME 5: Winner Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 7 p.m.SATURDAYGAME 6: Winner Game 4 vs. Winner Game 5, 1 p.m.GAME 7: If necessary, 30 minutes after Game 6.Smith-Wills Stadium is located on Lakeland Drive in south Jackson.
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