After rallying from a 3-1 deficit with a four-run sixth inning, Purvis was just a single strike away from completing a comeback and clinching the Region 7-4A crown against Lawrence County Tuesday night. The Cougars had other ideas though.
Trailing 5-4 and down to that final strike, Lawrence County shocked Purvis, sending a three-run home run off the bat of Marquez Hudson over the left field fence. The hit carried the Cougars to a 7-5 win over the Tornadoes, who clinched the title regardless after Sumrall’s loss to Poplarville.
Speaking prior to learning the latter, Purvis head coach Tony Farlow expressed disappointment in his team’s approach to Tuesday’s game.
“I think they’ve read so much in the paper lately about how good we are,” Farlow said. “I think they thought they would just show up again and the win would take care of itself.
“We felt like Lawrence County was going to be a good team, a good hitting team. They started out slow against Sumrall, and since then, they’ve played with everybody in our division and proved it tonight.”
Lawrence County improved to 13-9 overall with the win, while Purvis had its eight game winning streak snapped, as the Tornadoes fell to 17-3 overall and 7-2 in district play.
Jesse Johnson got the start on the mound for Purvis, striking out nine in 6 1/3 innings of work. Johnson and fellow sophomore Dakota Lee, who hit two home runs in the game, stood out for the Tornadoes.
“I thought Jesse battled and gave us a chance to win, not hardly having any run support most of the game,” Farlow said. “He [Lee] was a bright spot. Obviously we didn’t have many bright spots on offense it seems like, even though we did have nine hits.”
Lee’s first homer put Purvis up 1-0 in the third inning. His second came on a two-run shot just shortly after Keyshawn Bolar delivered a game-tying, two-run double for Purvis in the sixth. With four runs in the inning, the Tornadoes led 5-3.
After Lawrence County plated a run in the seventh to pull within one, Purvis came oh-so-close to closing it out. But with two out and on a 3-2 count, Hudson delivered for the Cougars.
“I thought we were going to kind of steal it at the end,” Farlow said. “We had a chance to get out of it. Just couldn’t get that third strike to end the game.”
Farlow’s Tornadoes will close out district play this Friday night with a rematch at Lawrence County. He hopes the team will take Tuesday’s loss as a learning experience as the playoffs draw near.
“Tonight reminded me a lot of last year’s team. We were not in the ballgame and looking for somebody else to be the hero. We were looking for a way to lose the ballgame. And we did. We gotta go back and play like we’ve played all year, because they’re going to be hard to beat at their place Friday night. We’ll have a challenge.”