GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - At this time last year, Austin Diebold was learning a new position just keep his spot on the Pearl River Central baseball team.
Fast-forward to Monday, and the junior played the role of hero for the Blue Devils.
Throwing upwards of 120 pitches in a complete game performance, Diebold’s steady performance paced Pearl River Central to their 8-4 game three victory over West Harrison. The victory punches their ticket to the third round of the Class 5A MHSAA Playoffs.
“It feels great," Diebold said. "They just rely on me so much and they’re confident in my ability to get outs. I just do it for them because they’re my brothers.”
“I told him at the end of last year that if he wanted to keep playing baseball for us, he’s gonna have to learn how to pitch," PRC head coach Neil Walther said. "He said, ‘yeah, I wanna play baseball.’ He just worked at it.”
Despite giving up three runs in the third inning, Diebold held steady thanks to consistent run support from his teammates. Plating four runs in the third, the Blue Devils turned a 3-1 deficit into a 5-4 lead and didn’t look back. Sophomore Cameron Brunson added a two-run RBI double as insurance in the top of the seventh, giving them an 8-4 lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
George County was the only other South Mississippi baseball squad in action Monday night. The Rebels saw their season come to an end, falling 8-1 to Brandon.