For all the things that went right for Northeast Jones baseball this season, the second-round curse still lingers around.
Northeast Jones fell to Purvis 2-1 in Game 3 of the second-round playoff series Saturday afternoon.
"Purvis executed a lot better than we did," said NEJ head coach Jeremy Parker. "Their pitcher wasn't overpowering, but he threw strikes. We failed to make the adjustments needed. They brought an eighth-grader in at the end, and he threw a little firmer, and again we took too many strikes. When we did hit it hard, we hit it right at them."
The Tigers stood on the verge of a second trip to the third round in school history after a 7-2 win over Purvis in Game 1 last Thursday night but failed to advance after loses in Game 2 and 3 on Friday and Saturday.
Despite the stunning end to the season, Northeast Jones accomplished a lot on the year, such as its first region title since 2002 and setting a school record of wins in a season at 26 — just to name a few.
"I'm still proud of our guys," said Parker. "We had one heck of a year. We were 26-5 and went undefeated in the district. I hate to lose our four seniors, but we do look forward to our underclassmen and their experience they will bring. I think we'll have a good season next year."
Both of Purvis’ runs were unearned and came in the top half of the third inning.
“I thought Sam Mansell threw the ball well,” said Parker. “He did all we could ask of him. He gave up two unearned runs because we made two errors in the third. Not taking anything away from Purvis, but that’s been our story the past two games. We gave three unearned runs on Friday night and two unearned runs today.”
Northeast Jones held Purvis scoreless the rest of the way but wasn't couldn't find the offensive firepower it was able to produce all year.
The Tigers’ only run came in the fourth. Senior Sam Mansell doubled to start the bottom fourth frame and later scored on a passed ball.
Mansell started the game from the mound and lasted six and two-thirds innings. Carson Ellis entered as relief and got the final out in the seventh on a fly ball to right field.
The Tigers will graduate five seniors, three of which (Dalton Tanner, Sam Mansell, and Eli Collins) will represent Northeast Jones in the D. M. Howie Mississippi High School 3A-4A All-Star Game.
"Our seniors have accomplished a lot," said Parker. "They got cheated out of a playoff run last season due to COVID. It's been amazing to see guys I've coached when I first started coming out and supporting these seniors and our team. We had some great players and teams over the years. I've heard from a lot of those guys who have said it's amazing to see what this team [and seniors] were able to accomplish.
"I told our seniors that life happens in a hurry. In no time, they'll be 28 years old going to their 10-year reunion [remembering what they have accomplished]. I told them they need to enjoy [the memories] they've made."