PEARL — Purvis coach Tony Farlow couldn't have felt more confident with JoJo Parker walking up to the plate in the bottom of the 10th. The Tornadoes had the bases loaded with no outs against West Lauderdale in Game 2 of the MHSAA Class 4A championship on Friday at Trustmark Park.
The Mississippi State baseball commitment had a chance to deliver Purvis its first state championship since 2012. Parker led the Tornadoes with 44 RBIs this season.
"In our scouting report he was a fastball pitcher," Parker said. "I just wanted to put the ball in play and get the job done. Finally win it in the 10th inning. That was big."
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Parker — Mr. Baseball for Class 4A — delivered with a sacrifice fly to center field to secure a 3-2 victory over West Lauderdale in extra innings. He jumped on the first pitch, a fastball on the outside, and helped lead the Tornadoes to their fourth title in program history.
"I felt pretty dang good," Farlow said about Parker walk-off. "We just don't need to leave early on the tag and we don't need to get doubled up. I felt like once we got first and second with nobody out we had a pretty good chance to win it then.
"It's pretty gratifying to have JoJo step up in that situation."
The sophomore also started the game on the mound and went 6⅓ innings with eight strikeouts. He entered the final game of the season 8-1 with a 1.62 ERA in 19 appearances. He had 85 strikeouts in 69⅓ innings.
Purvis (32-6) won nine of its 10 playoff games and had an 18-game winning streak from March 21 to May 16. Farlow — in his 26th year with the Tornadoes — has top six pitchers along with JoJo and his brother Jacob Parker.
Jacob, also a Mississippi State commitment, had a .434 batting average with 49 hits, 42 RBIs and 14 doubles in 37 games. Purvis should be a threat at back-to-back titles along with West Lauderdale (21-7), which is a powerhouse program with state-record 15 state championships.
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However, Farlow isn't looking ahead to next year. He's going to enjoy a state title with this team.
"At this point and time in my coaching career I didn't know if I would ever be back up here," Farlow said. "This team has been special. The last two years we've had a pretty good team but there's been some really good teams we had to go through to get here and we weren't good enough to do that.
"We felt that after the midpoint this year we felt like we were as good as anyone in the south. It worked out that way."
This article originally appeared on Mississippi Clarion Ledger: Mississippi State baseball commit JoJo Parker gives Purvis MHSAA title