Pascagoula Panthers prepare for Pearl River Central in 6A State baseball playoffs

PASCAGOULA, MS (WLOX) - Following a rainy Wednesday...the field crew was taking care of the Panthers baseball field getting it ready for Friday's showdown with the Blue Devils.

Head coach Richie Tillman had his players practicing on the stadium parking lot in preparation for the big game.

Richie Tillman said, "I really felt like we came out of the gates a little slow. We went back to work, worked on the basics. The team really picked it up and playing a lot better, especially I feel like at the right time."

The Division 7-5A Champs will send ace Taylor Olsen, the son of former longtime Pascagoula head baseball coach Johnny Olsen, on the mound Friday night. He's undefeated having won 7 games, with a one-point--3 eared run average and 54 strikeouts. His fast ball travels from the mid to upper 80's.

Taylor Olsen said, "Just come out and play as hard as I can. Try to challenge hitters and get ahead in the ball game. My team has come out and stepped up big for me. They play behind me every game I pitch."

As a team Pascagoula is batting .313.6 foot-4, 190 pound senior Joshua Melendez carries a big stick having belted five home runs on the year, 19 RBI's and a .393 batting average.

200 pound senior catcher Will Tomes leads the Panthers with 22 RBI's while batting .348 and four homers. Justin Stanford has excelled at the plate...batting .413.

Coach Tillman expects a strong challenge from Pearl River Central saying, "Very competitive. Will not give up. Very well coached and fundamentally sound. It's going to be a tough challenge for the Panther baseball team."

Pearl River Central head coach Neil Walther has guided his Blue Devils to 18 wins and 10 losses.

The Pearl River Central-Pascagoula confrontation will be one of the featured games on the Friday Night baseball playoffs on the WLOX 10:00 sports.

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