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JoJo Parker's clutch sac fly lifts Purvis to MHSAA Class 4A State Baseball Championship

It took 10 innings, but the Tornadoes walked off with the program's first state championship since 2012

PEARL — The debate about which team is the best of the 12 that have taken the field at Trustmark Park at the 2023 MHSAA State Championship could go on forever, but there’s little doubt which team had the toughest road to a championship.

The Purvis Tornadoes put an exclamation point on an incredible post-season run Friday night, beating North State Champion West Lauderdale 3-2 in 10 innings to clinch the Class 4A State Championship for the first time 11 years.

Just like their dramatic 6-5 win over perennial powerhouse and defending state champ Sumrall in the rubber match of the South State Championship Series, Friday’s title-clincher was full of drama.

The Tornadoes and Knights remained locked in a 2-2 tie until the bottom of the 10th inning, when series MVP JoJo Parker strolled to the plate with the bases loaded and nobody out. Lauderdale reliever Brett Busbea grooved a first-pitch fastball on the outside corner, and Parker lifted it to centerfield, just deep enough to bring David Walker home from third to end the game.

“I knew from the scouting report that he was a fastball pitcher,” Parker said. “So I was looking for it, and when I got one, I was able to get a barrel on it.”

Walker, who accounted for both of the Tornadoes’ two hits in the game, slid into home ahead of the throw from West Lauderdale centerfielder Jackson Parker, setting off a wild celebration for the Tornadoes (32-6).

JoJo Parker’s series MVP award was well-deserved. After going 2-for-3 and picking up the win in relief Wednesday, he drew the start Friday and pitched well again.

The sophomore Mississippi Sate commit went 7.1 innings, allowing two runs (none earned) on six hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He threw 70 of his 98 pitches for a strike.

When he ran out of gas, Purvis coach Tony Farlow turned the game over to his twin brother, Jacob Parker. He walked a man before stranding two runners to escape the eighth inning.

Sophomore Cannon Turner pitched the final two innings to get the win. He allowed just one hit and one walk.

As good as those three were, the guys from West Lauderdale were just as good. Freshman Matt Boswell drew the start and gave up two runs (non earned on two hits and a walk in four innings. Sophomore Carter Horton gave up one run on two hits in five innings of relief.

“For a while there, it looked like neither team wanted to win it,” long-time Purvis coach Tony Farlow said. “Their pitching just dominated us for nine innings. But I felt like if we could ever get a couple of guys on, we would be able to scratch one across, and that’s exactly what happened.”

It was the first time West Lauderdale has lost in a state championship series since 1988. They are now 14-1 in state championship series in that span.

“It was two really, really good and evenly matched teams,” West Lauderdale coach Jason Smith said. “It just didn’t seem like it was our series. We didn’t get many breaks and you have to tip your cap to Purvis. They are a great team and they deserved to win it.”