POPLARVILLE, MS (WLOX) - The Pearl River Wildcats baseball team has enjoyed a banner season. The Wildcats captured the State Junior College title and have set their sights on the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament beginning 3 p.m. Wednesday facing arch-rival Mississippi Gulf Coast in Eunice, Louisiana.
Second-year head coach Michael Avalon pulled all the right strings in leading Pearl River to 37 wins in 46 games.
Winning the state championship was one of several goals the Wildcats established before the 2018 season began. Their next challenge is a big one...as Pearl River attempts to crack the NJCAA World Series by winning the Region 23 Tournament.
Coach Avalon said, "Credit goes to the players there because we talk to them about winning the championship. That was a goal, but they were the ones who had to put the work in and believe in it. Without a doubt, they've done that. Very humbled and blessed to be at Pearl River."
Pitching is always a key factor in a teams success. Freshman Shemar Page, a right handed pitcher from Raleigh, asserted himself on the mound. He's posted a 10 and 1 record with a 2.65 earned run average.
He'll most like receive the starting assignment on Wednesday. Pitching coach Anthony Izzio has fine-tuned Shemar's mental and physical game.
Page said, "Coach Izzio wants me to focus on each pitch. So I try not to let everything get the best of me. I try to focus on my job, get defensive ground balls and get quick outs.
Coach Izzio, a former Vancleave High and South Alabama standout, says the Wildcats pitching staff is a big reason for PRCC winning the state title.
Izzio said, "We have a few guys like 1-A, 1-B, 1-C and 1-D with this group and they've been special. Shemar Page has been really good for us as a freshman. Miles Smith Drake Nightengale, Colby White, and Camden Dusang has been kind of an unsung hero for us.
During the regular season, Pearl River defeated Gulf Coast twice by the identical score of 6-2.