Pearl River Central wasted no time in taking the wind of visiting George County in opening-round play in the Class 5A South State playoffs on Tuesday.
The Blue Devils tallied two runs in the first frame and added three more markers in the third inning to take quick command at 5-0 and then followed the dominant pitching of Caleb Dyes to a 6-0 win in game one of the series. This marks the second consecutive season that these two teams have met in the opening round of the Class 5A South State playoffs, and PRC won the series last season after dropping game one.
Jacob Johnson gave Dyess all the support he would need when with his RBI-single in the bottom of the first that scored Chris Hart and then Austin Gill scoed as well on a GC error.
Two frames later, Dyess helped himself out at the plate with a run-scoing single that plated Connor Dyess who opened the inning with a single of his own. Johnson’s second RBI-single in the first three frames of the game scored Dyess and made it 4-0. Kyan Schlottman followed with a run-scoring single that plated Johnson to make it 5-0.
The Blue Devils added another insurance run, not that it was really needed, in the bottom of the sixth when Schlottman doubled and later scored on an RBI-sacrifice fly by B.J. Belleo resulting in the final 6-0 count.
In addition to Schlottman, Belleo and Hart each had a double for PRC, while Johnson and Schlottman each had two hits apiece in the winning eight-hit attack. Johnson’s two RBIs were a game-high.
Meanwhile, Caleb Dyess was almost over-powering in perhaps his best outing of the season in a high-leverage situation, as he scattered three hits in the complete game performance posting the shutout win while striking out 10.
Brody Howell had two of the Rebels’ three hits, including a double. He was also the losing pitcher, going the six-stanza distance allowing the eight hits and the six runs with four of the runs earned. He struck out six and walked two.
The Rebels and Blue Devils will resume the best-of-three series Friday night in Lucedale, and a third and final game in the match-up will take place Saturday back in Pearl River County if needed. Last season, Pearl River Central dropped game one to George County 3-2 at home before heading to Lucedale and taking a 7-3 road win. The two teams returned to Carriere for the third and deciding game and the Blue Devils won the series with their second straight win in an exciting 2-1 decision.
Vancleave then knocked Pearl River Central out of the state playoffs the following week winning two out of three games from the Blue Devils.