FULTON, Miss. — It did not come easy but the No. 6 Pearl River Wildcats put away No. 9 Northwest Thursday night, winning 12-11 in 11 innings and advancing in the Region XXIII Tournament.
"I'm very proud of how tough this team was today," PRCC coach Micheal Avalon said. "I think we prevailed in the end because of that."
PRCC 12, NWCC 11 (11 inn.)
The Rangers (33-14) got off to a hot start plating six runs in the bottom of the first to take a 6-0 lead.
The Wildcats (38-12) did not wait long to respond as Shemar Page (Raleigh) got PRCC on the board with a solo shot out of right field in the top of the second to cut the lead to 6-1.
"I know coach wants me in there to hit and I get in there with an aggressive mindset," Page said. "This team is all in. We have each others backs."
The top of the fourth inning saw the Wildcats get the bats going.
Dexter Jordan (Hattiesburg) started the scoring with an RBI double.
Deyton Lingle (Lake) reached first base on an error that scored Jordan.
Austen Izzio (Carriere; Pearl River Central) hit a groundout RBI to tie the game 6-6.
Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) gave the Wildcats the lead in the top of the fifth inning with an RBI-single to take a 7-6 lead.
Northwest struck back in the bottom of the fifth plating two runs and retaking the lead 8-7.
A pivotal moment happened heading into the top of the eighth inning when Avalon gathered his team and gave them advice.
"We just said to trust what we do and trust our approach," Avalon said. "Don't try too much and just relax and play ball."
It is safe to say his team took that advice to heart.
The Wildcats exploded once again when Izzio and Page both crushed two-run bombs to give the Wildcats an 11-8 lead.
Northwest did not go away, however, tying the game up with a three-run bomb in the bottom of the ninth inning.
The Wildcats once again dug deep and plated the tie breaking run when Reece Ewing (Mobile, Ala.; Faith Academy) hit an RBI single in the top of the 11th inning to score Jordan and give the Wildcats the 12-11 lead.
Bynum forced two pop outs and ended the game on an emphatic strikeout slamming the door shut and giving the Wildcats their second win in as many days.
"We called on Evan when we needed him and he went in there and got after it," Avalon said.
Page led the team in hits with three while he and Izzio led the team in RBIs with three as well.
"Shemar sees the baseball so well," Avalon said. "That young man is a winner. I'm just so proud of how he has matured. He's helped us in so many ways this season. "
Jordan and Wiley Cleland (Columbia; Columbia Academy) both had two hits.
Reynolds pitched 5 2/3 innings allowing two hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out seven.
Reid Goleman (Moselle; South Jones) came into the game in relief of Reynolds.
Goleman pitched 1 2/3 innings allowing one hit and striking out three.
Meggs pitched two innings allowing three hits and one walk while striking out one.
The Wildcats return to action Friday when they take on the winner of Itawamba vs LSU-Eunice at 3:30 p.m. at Roy Cresap Field in Fulton.
The game will be live streamed at LetsGoICCTV.com.
Games will also be broadcast at WRJWRadio.com.
REGION 23 TOURNAMENT
Game 6: LSU-Eunice vs. Itawamba 7 p.m.
Game 7: Gulf Coast vs. Game 6 loser, noon
Game 8: Pearl River vs. Game 6 winner, 3:30 p.m.
Game 9: Game 7 winner vs. Game 8 loser, 7 p.m.
Game 10: Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 winner, 3 p.m.
Game 11 (if necessary): Game 10 teams, 1 p.m.
NOTE: If 3 teams remain after Game 9:
Game 10: Game 8 winner vs. Game 9 loser, 3 p.m.
Game 11: Game 9 winner vs. Game 10 winner, 1 p.m.