When West Jones junior slugger Kris Riley stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the seventh, Pearl River Central’s relief pitcher Haden Dunhurst had already done his due diligence at the plate. The Ole Miss baseball signee sent the game into the bottom of the seventh with his second home run of the night – a three-run zinger over the right field wall to give PRC a 6-4 lead – and, as it seemed, a third-round win and berth in the MHSAA Class 5A South State Championship series.
Riley, with runners on the corners and one out, badly wanted something of the same. The 1-0 pitch from Dunhurst presented Riley with a perfect opportunity for the craziest of all endings Saturday night in Soso. Riley seized all of it and then some, crushing the ball to the deepest part of centerfield for a game-winning three-run walk-off home run.
West Jones stunned Pearl River Central with Riley’s home run to win Saturday night’s decisive Game 3, 7-6.
With the series win, the Mustangs advances to the 5A South State Championship series where they’ll face Hattiesburg in Game 1 next Thursday night.
Click on the link below to see Riley’s game-winning home run and hear from West Jones head coach Trey Sutton: https://youtu.be/zPvuu59CbB4
Much like in Game 1 of the series last Thursday night, PRC jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the game. Back-to-back RBI singles by Dunhurst and Eli Lee in the third resulted in PRC’s two-run advantage. Dunhurst pushed PRC’s lead to three (3-0) in the fifth with his first home run of the contest.
West Jones answered with runs in the bottom of the fifth and sixth. A sac fly by Hayden Bryan in the fifth and a two-run double by Garrett McLaurin in the sixth tied the game, 3-3. Adam Bassett followed McLaurin in the sixth with an RBI single to put West Jones in front, 4-3.
Dunhurst second home run of the night, his three-run blast in the top of the seventh inning forced the game to go to the bottom of the seventh with West Jones in the hole, 6-4.
That’s when Riley cleared the West Jones dugout for the dramatic celebration and finish.
Click on the link below to hear Riley’s post-game comments: https://youtu.be/FGxKyCKOJe4
Riley led West Jones at the plate with three hits, including the home run, and three RBI.
West Jones senior RHP Hayden Bryan earned the win on the mound. Bryan tossed one complete inning in relief for West Jones starting pitcher Evan Bynum. Bynum – also a senior RHP for the Mustangs – pitched six full innings, allowing five earned runs on six hits. He finished the night with nine strikeouts.
West Jones improves to 27-3 on the season.