PHOTO BY LEE ADAMS/LETSGOICC.COM
PERKINSTON — Bounced into the losers' bracket of the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament after a tough late-night loss, Mississippi Gulf Coast not only needed a win Thursday, the Bulldogs needed to save pitching.
Done and done.
Dawson Hall (Fr., East Central/Hurley), who most everybody calls Bubba, shut out No. 4 Jones in a dominant eight-inning complete game win, and the Bulldogs hit three homers to beat the Bobcats 8-0.
"It means the world because you save pitching. You can go to the next game and all your arms back," Hall said. "My curveball was great, and my fastball, it just blew by them."
Hall struck out six and walked just one during his three-hitter. He pitched to only two batters over the minimum and threw a mere 86 pitches. Jones (37-12) had one pitcher throw 74 and another 85 in its final game of the season.
"He was as good as he's been in three weeks," Batts said. "That's the Dawson we saw most of the season. That was big for him and for us to keep this thing going."
The biggest homer came off the bat of Cullan O'Shea (So., Mary G. Montgomery/Mobile Ala.), who hit his second grand slam in three games. The Bulldogs had a 2-0 lead in the sixth after solo home runs in the first and third, but the offense was starting to strand loads of runners again.
It was up to nine through the first five innings after they stranded the bases loaded with one out in fifth. There were two outs in the sixth when O'Shea hit a ball into the trees beyond the right-field wall.
Like his game-winning slam in the Meridian series, this one came after a walk to Brandon Parker (So., West Harrison/Saucier). It wasn't strictly intentional, but the message was received by the man in the on-deck circle.
"I thought they were kinda trying to pitch around him," O'Shea said. "I hadn't made solid contact, but I guess it's good luck for me right now when he gets walked in front of me to load the bases."
Ike Williams (So., St. Martin/St. Martin) hit the first pitch of the game for his fifth home run of the season.
"It sparks the game," he said." You come in, you see a fastball down the middle, and you hit one hard over the fence, the team just falls in line and gets the job done."
Alden Davis (So., Pascagoula/Pascagoula) had a solo homer in the third. Parker and O'Shea had back-to-back doubles in the eighth to make it 8-0 and put the mercy rule in effect.
Gulf Coast will play No. 1 LSU Eunice at noon Friday in an elimination game. No. 2 Itawamba beat the Bengals 5-2 late Thursday night.
"We didn't get out of here until 11 o'clock last night, didn't get into bed until after midnight," Batts said. "We had to get back at it early, and that shows their heart and their resilience. I'm proud of 'em."
2019 NJCAA Region 23 Baseball Tournament
Game 1: LSU-Eunice 8, Northwest 6
Game 2: Pearl River 4, Jones 2
Game 3: Itawamba 8, Gulf Coast 7
Game 4: Gulf Coast 8, Jones 0 (8 inn.), Jones eliminated
Game 5: Pearl River 12, Northwest 11 (11 inn.) Northwest eliminated
Game 6: Itawamba 5, LSU Eunice 2
Game 7: Gulf Coast vs. LSU Eunice, noon
Game 8: Pearl River vs. Itawamba, 3:30 p.m.
Game 9: Winner Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8, 7 p.m.
Championship Round: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, 3 p.m.
Championship Round, if necessary: Winner Game 8 vs. Winner Game 9, 1 p.m.
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