Purvis hasn’t lost back-to-back games all season long. The Tornadoes (23-4) improved to 4-0 in games following a loss Monday night with a 12-2 win in five innings over Saint Stanislaus. The victory came in a decisive game three, as Purvis advanced to the third round of the Class 4A playoffs.
The Tornadoes took game one last Friday and dropped game two Saturday in Bay St. Louis. The latter put this year’s team in unfamiliar territory—a must-win situation heading into Monday’s contest.
“I felt like we would have a chance, but you just don’t know until you get out here,” said Purvis head coach Tony Farlow. “I know our guys were a little tight coming out here tonight, because this is honestly the first time they’ve faced do-or-die.
“I thought we responded well.”
With several arms unable to go due to pitch count rules, Farlow turned to Keyshawn Bolar to start on the mound. The senior did not disappoint in his 4 2/3 innings of work.
“He [Bolar] has pitched good for us on Saturdays all year,” said Farlow. “We had a lot of confidence in putting him out here. We probably would’ve put him out there Saturday if we ever took the lead. We never did, so we saved him for today.”
Bolar gave up just two runs in picking up his fifth win of the season. Both of those runs came in the fifth inning and cut Purvis’ lead to 6-2. The Tornadoes jumped on top early with a two-run first inning thanks to a bases-loaded walk of Casey Burge and an RBI from Parker Sharff. When all said and done, Sharff had a game-high five RBI for Purvis, including the game-winning hit—a two-run double in the bottom of the fifth.
“He [Sharff] has done that at times all year for us,” said Farlow. “He’s had a great year. Everybody can’t hit every game, but we’ve got guys that in different games, somebody’s the hero. Good night for Parker to step up.”
“I was feeling pretty good,” Sharff added. “Just doing what I can.”
Purvis scored at least one run in every inning but the second. In the third, Mason Kendrick added an RBI single. An inning later, the Tornadoes pushed their lead to 6-0 after Nathan Lott scored on a passed ball and Sharff delivered a two-run single. Purvis doubled that total in its half of the fifth, scoring six runs on the way to a mercy rule win. Sharff and Jesse Johnson each had two-run base hits, and Collin McQueen and Dakota Lee added one RBI apiece.
“We just felt like sooner or later we were going to get some of those guys off the mound and have a big inning,” added Farlow. “It worked out that way, but you’ve got to give Saint Stanislaus credit. They’re a scrappy team.
“I’m just proud of our guys for showing up tonight and battling.”
Purvis advances to face East Central in the third round of the Class 4A playoffs. That series will begin Thursday night, and Farlow says his team will be ready.
“I’m proud of our guys. They’ve had a great season, and I know the competition is fixing to get really, really stiff. We welcome the opportunity to play East Central and see what happens Thursday.”