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Wolves stuff No. 1 Wildcats for title

POPLARVILLE — Rebounding from an injury-plagued regular season,the Co-Lin Wolves displayed their potential in the NJCAA Region 23Tournament. They knocked off No. 1-ranked Pearl River CommunityCollege 10-2 Sunday to clinch the region championship.

Pearl River had regrouped after a Saturday’s 10-3 loss to Co-Linto beat the Wolves 4-3 in Sunday’s opener at Wildcat Stadium.

Co-Lin (27-25) heads for the Super Regional at St. Catherine,Ky., May 19-21. The Super Regional winner advances to the DivisionII College World Series at Millington, Tenn., May 28-June 3.

“I’m proud for our kids,” said Co-Lin head coach Keith Case.”They’ve gone through a lot this season. It’s nice to go down thereand beat the No. 1 team in the nation. Pearl River has a greatprogram. Their coaches do a good job. We were fortunate to get hot.The guys responded and did a great job. Our guys don’t want tolose.”

“It was fun,” added Case. “Defensively, we played extremelywell. We played aggressive. We used the bunt, the hit and steal andthe short game really well.”

Co-Lin 10, Pearl River 2

In the second game, Pearl River led 1-0 after the firstinning as Co-Lin scored one run in the top of the second and thirdinnings for a 2-1 lead. In the next 3 innings, the Wolves scored 1,4 and 2 runs for a 9-1 lead after 6 innings.

Co-Lin added 1 more run in the top of the eighth for a10-1 lead as Pearl River scored its final run of the day in theninth to cut the deficit to 10-2.

The Wildcats committed 7 errors to the Wolves 3 in thefinale.

Freshman Scotty Smith of Brookhaven pitched the victoryin Sunday’s second game. Smith struck out 2 batters, walked 3 andgave up 2 runs on 5 hits.

“Scotty pitched the second game and he never gave in,”said Case. “It was a tremendous effort.”

The losing pitcher was starter Rene Ritchie (3-1) in 31/3 innings with no strikeouts, one walk and 3 runs allowed. Alsoseeing action were Craig Rodriguez in the fourth with 2 strikeoutsand a walk, Jacob Smith in the fifth with a strikeout and JustinTucker in the eighth.

Powering Co-Lin at the plate with 3 singles was PatrickWilliams. Ripping 2 singles each were Garrett Jones, Scotty Smithand Xavier Qualls, Joseph Langham smashed a double. Jody Britt.Josh Logan and Matthew Schexnayder singled.

Bailey Hartel and Ryne Lovdahl led Pearl River with adouble and a single apiece. Richard Imhoff hit safely.

Pearl River 4, Co-Lin 3

The Wildcats prevailed when the tying runs were thrownout at the plate in Co-Lin’s final turn at bat. The Wolves hadscored two runs in the bottom of the ninth to cut the deficit toone run, 4-3, before the final out was made.

Recording the win was Corey Bass (8-2) with 7 strikeoutsand a hit batter. Lance Deville (4-3) absorbed the loss with 4strikeouts, 2 walks and a hit batsman. Both pitchers went thedistance.

“Lance pitched extremely well,” said Case.

Directing the Wolves with a double and a single wasLogan. Williams doubled. Singling wereBritt, Langham, Schexnayder,Smith and Jones.

J.P. Moreaux sparked the Wildcats with a double and asingle. Hartel ripped a pair of singles. John Wayne Donahue, MartinRoark and Lovdahl singled.

In the first game, Co-Lin committed 2errors.