PURVIS – After posting a 19-3 overall record in the regular season, it’s not a secret the Purvis Tornadoes have high expectations in the 4A playoffs. They opened up with the McComb Tigers in the first round, and Purvis handled its business in tune for a 9-1 win.
PHOTO GALLERY: Click for photos from Matt Bush.
While Purvis cruised to the eight-run win, Farlow was far from pleased with his team’s effort after the game.
“I just told them, basically, they played like garbage, we looked like garbage, we practiced like garbage this week, and if we continue that, our season will be winding down pretty soon,” Farlow said.
Farlow even had his players run sprints for 20 minutes after the game to get them, in his words, to get the message that it was playoff time.
“Who knows, but I think they did,” Farlow said when asked if his players got the message. “I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t come out and play really well tomorrow, but this team has kind of responded all year. I’m going to be disappointed if we don’t pick it up a notch if we take care of our business tomorrow night and move on to the next round.”
Purvis’ starting pitcher, sophomore Dakota Lee, knows his team has high aspirations in the postseason. Like Farlow, he also knows his team can play a lot better than it did Friday night.
“It feels really good to win and we think we can come out here and laze around a lot, but we have to know that we have to swallow all of that, forget about what everybody says about us and play ball,” Lee said.
Lee got his first career varsity playoff start, and he didn’t disappoint. He pitched six innings of one-hit ball while not allowing a run with 12 strikeouts and two walks.
“My fastball was feeling really good,” Lee said. “It wasn’t as fast as it needed to be, but it was painting the corners. My curveball was on. It was working good all night.”
Lee began the game by striking out the side in the first inning, then added two more in the second to bring his total to five strikeouts quickly. Lee followed that up with three straight 1-2-3 innings before allowing a leadoff walk in the sixth inning.
After leaving a couple of base runners on in the first inning, Purvis’ bats woke up in the second inning to put a 4-spot on the board. Junior Casey Burge led off the inning with a walk, then advanced to second on a passed ball before senior Nathan Lott and junior Mason Kendrick walked to load the bases.
Senior Trenton Flatt’s shot up the middle gave Purvis a 2-0 lead, then a passed ball scored Kendrick and an infield error plated Flatt.
The Tornadoes added single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, and three runs in the sixth pushed them ahead 9-0 as they flirted with the 10-run rule. McComb added its lone run in the top of the seventh, as sophomore Mason Dilmore buckled down and recorded three straight strikeouts while the Tigers had the bases loaded.
“We needed to get him some work,” Farlow said. “I wish I had put him in the inning before. We’re hoping to get some guys some work this series.”
Game 2 of the best-of-3 series is set for Friday in McComb at 6 p.m. Sophomore Jesse Johnson was named the starter for Game 2 Friday by Purvis coach Tony Farlow.