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PCA’s Smith falls in duel; Hearn fans 15

[03/07/01] Porters Chapel Academy’s Heath Smith and Adams’ County Christian’s Christopher Rayborn played a game of “chicken” Tuesday night, matching each other pitch for pitch.

Finally, PCA coach Randy Wright blinked, opening the door for ACCS to claim a 4-1 win.

Smith struck out 14 in eight innings of one-hit ball and carried a no-hitter into the seventh inning, while Rayborn struck out 20 and walked none in nine innings, and didn’t allow a run after Kyle Ehrhardt’s leadoff homer in the bottom of the first.

Smith matched Rayborn pitch for pitch, but one of his best pitches of the night hurt PCA (0-2) in the seventh. Smith struck out ACCS leadoff hitter Caleb Walker on a curveball in the dirt, but the ball skipped past PCA catcher Walter Bliss and Walker reached first. He was sacrificed to second by Bruce Wiley, then scored on a double by Dustin Perry to tie the game 1-1.

“It was an almost impossible block for Walter. By no means was it his fault,” Wright said.

Smith retired the next two batters in order and shut down ACCS in the eighth.

But Wright, not wanting to risk an injury to his ace, pulled Smith after the eighth inning.

“It just was not an important enough game to keep him out there. And he did not want to come out,” Wright said, noting Tuesday night’s cold weather as another factor in his decision. “If it had been a district game or a playoff game, I probably would have left him in there.”

ACCS scored three runs off of Ehrhardt on only one hit in the top of the ninth to take a 4-1 lead, then hung on after PCA got its first two hitters on base in the bottom of the inning.

Smith and Bliss started the ninth with back-to-back singles for PCA, but Rayborn buckled down and retired the next three batters in order two of them on strikeouts to end the game.

St. Al 7, Sebastopol 1

Ryan Hearn followed up a no-hit performance with a near-miss. Hearn, who threw a no-hitter in his last outing on Feb. 24, took a no-hitter into the sixth and finished with a one-hitter to lead St. Aloysius (5-0) past Sebastopol (1-4).

Hearn, who also had an RBI double, struck out 15 and walked none in a complete game. Sebastopol’s only hit came on a bloop single by Curtis Price in the bottom of the sixth, and St. Al coach Joe Graves took responsibility for that.

“He was throwing as hard as I’ve ever seen,” Graves said. “I should have changed the pitch to a fastball, but I went with a curveball and the guy hit a bloop single. I could have kicked myself.”

Clay Simmons homered for St. Al, Lee Wiles went 2-for-3 with a pair of singles and Chris Bass added a two-run double.