POPLARVILLE, Miss. — Two more Pearl River baseball standouts signed with four-year programs on Wednesday. The latest group of out-going Wildcats is comprised of South Alabama signee Kasey Donaldson (Gulfport; West Harrison) and Memphis signee Landon Gartman (Bogue Chitto; Enterprise ).
Wednesday's Wildcats join a next-level class that already includes Alabama signee Graham Crawford (Hattiesburg; Sumrall), USA signee Tate Parker (Gulfport; West Harrison), Southeastern Louisiana signee Jacob Scherer (Mandeville, La.; St. Paul's) and Louisiana Tech signee Taylor Woodcock (Pass Christian; West Harrison).
Donaldson has been one of the more prolific power hitters in school history. The left-handed slugger was crucial in PRCC's run to the NJCAA Division II World Series in Enid, Oklahoma, two years ago. As a freshman, he was tied for 14th in the country and second on the team with 14 homers. He finished that season hitting .312 with a .435 on-base percentage and .635 slugging percentage. He also tallied 44 RBIs with 13 doubles and 48 runs scored.
In last year's abbreviated 16-game schedule, Donaldson was second on the team with 14 homers. He also recorded 12 RBIs and tied for the team lead with four doubles. Donaldson finished the shortened season with a .259 batting average, .323 OBP and .556 slugging percentage.
"Kasey Donaldson is a young man that truly loves and has deep passion for Pearl River. During his time at Pearl River, he has been a mainstay in the middle of the lineup and helped take this program back to a high level," Avalon said. "Since day 1, he has been a marked man in the middle of our order, yet continues to produce at a high level.
"No doubt, Kasey and his family are excited about him staying close to home at South Al, and his family will get to watch and support him."
Gartman showed flashes as a strikeout artist a year ago, fanning 10 batters in 6 2/3 innings. His 13.50 strikeouts-per-nine were tied for second on the roster.
This fall, Gartman finished with 16 strikeouts in 13 scoreless innings against outside competition. He allowed a mere nine hits and three walks in those four appearances.
"Landon's maturity and development have been exciting to witness during his time in our program. Last year, he was one of the first guys out of the pen," Avalon said. "Now this year, he has continued to work and improve and will be one of our top two starters.
"Landon is a quiet young man who simply does all he is asked and leads by example."
NEXT LEVEL PRIORITY
Avalon has always made moving his student athletes to the next level a priority. Dating back to his debut as a head coach at Mississippi Delta in 2012, Avalon has seen 100 sign with four-year programs with a handful more walking on at the next level. Additionally, 46 Pearl River Wildcats have signed during Avalon's tenure in Poplarville.
In addition to Wednesday's schools, other destinations over the last three years include Mississippi State, Auburn, Southern Miss, Louisiana Tech, Louisiana-Monroe, Delta State, North Alabama and many more.
PRCC just wrapped up its fall ball campaign. The Wildcats won't open their 2021 season until Feb. 9, when PRCC hosts Coastal Alabama-North for a doubleheader at Dub Herring Park. The rest of PRCC's schedule will be released at a later date.