PURVIS, Miss. (WDAM) – On about as gorgeous a Saturday afternoon as one could ask for, Lamar County rivals Oak Grove and Purvis found themselves locked into as tight a high school baseball game as one might have expected.
The perennial baseball dynamos were locked up in an 1-1 ballgame through five innings before the Warriors broke through with two runs in the top of the sixth and another in the seventh to secure a 4-1 victory.
Oak Grove then stranded four Tornadoes on base over the final two innings, including a bases-loaded-with-one-out jam in the bottom of the sixth inning.
“I thought it was your typical baseball game with Oak Grove,” Purvis coach Tony Farlow said. “Most years, it’s pretty nip-and-tuck all the way through, and we felt pretty good about Saturday.
“We didn’t get the play at the plate on the little rundown (in the sixth inning) and obviously, we would have liked to have hit a little bit better. But it was just a good, high school baseball game.”
Oak Grove starter Parker Harrington went the distance, scattering four singles over seven innings.
“Parker’s been one of our better pitchers,” Oak Grove coach Chris McCardle said. “Last year, he was one of our go-to guys out of the (bullpen) but struggled a little bit out of the pen this year, so we turned him into a starter.
“This is the third Saturday game that we’ve got him going and he’s gotten better and better and better every time out. He did a tremendous job. He threw 80-something pitches and settled in and you can’t beat that.”
Purvis starter Hunter Robinson allowed just one run over the first five innings, striking out four Warriors.
In the sixth, Oak Grove (10-2) had runners on first and third base with one out, when Purvis went for the pickoff at first base. That led to Quintin Sterling breaking from third base and eventually scoring to break the tie.
“One-one game and nothing’s going on,” McCardle said, “and we just wanted to put the pressure on them.
“That kind of gave us some life, got the dugout going a little bit and we got the bats going a little bit.”
Caleb Gibson followed with a double to score Easterling and give the Warriors a 3-1 lead.
Purvis (7-4) loaded the bases with one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, but Harrington got out of the jam on a pop up and ground out.
The Warriors tacked on the game’s final run in the seventh inning when Turner Swistak’s double scored Blake Roberts.
Oak Grove took a 1-0 lead off Robinson in the fourth inning on Klaybron Pollard’s double. Purvis tied the game in the bottom of the inning on one of Damen Piercy’s two singles.
Dalton Lee and Kevin Krummel each had singles for the Tornadoes.
Swistak, Pollard and Gibson each had a double among the Warriors’ seven hits. Foster Mitchell, Tristan Lee, Luke Lyon and Liam Breithaupt.
Both teams are scheduled to play Tuesday, but circumstances may dictate otherwise.
The Mississippi High School Activities Association is expected to announce Monday whether it will require school districts to suspend sports seasons as the shadow of the COVID-19 virus continues to loom large.
McCardle said the Lamar Country School District notified administrators and others Saturday that the upcoming spring break would be extended another week.
“We’re off two weeks now instead of one, so we don’t know what that means,” McCardle said. “Can we come practice? Do we get to play? What do we need to do?’”
But, unless specifically instructed otherwise, both McCardle and Farlow said they intend to keep putting their teams through their paces in practice in the hope that Saturday was not the final baseball game of the 2020 season.
“I wouldn’t be surprised if they suspend it for a week or two, but it’s like I told our kids, we’ve got practice Monday to get ready for Greene County Tuesday,” Farlow said. “That’s what we plan on doing until somebody tells us different.
“We’re just planning on playing baseball until somebody tells us we can’t.”