PCA’s Smith almost perfect in first victory

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 12, 2001

[03/12/01] The Porters Chapel Academy Eagles took out a few of their early season frustrations on Rebul Saturday.

Heath Smith threw a five-inning no-hitter, striking out 12 and facing just one batter over the minimum, and Walter Bliss went 3-for-3 with three singles and an RBI to lead the Eagles to their first win of the season, 10-0.

Smith and Kyle Ehrhardt also had two hits and an RBI each for PCA (1-3).

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“It was a win, Heath pitched a great game and we did a good job winning. We hit the ball a little bit today. By no means did we kill it or anything, but we hit it a little better than we’ve been hitting it,” PCA coach Randy Wright said.

Smith was nearly unhittable all day. He struck out eight of the first nine Rebul (0-3) hitters he faced, and retired the last 14 in a row after the Raiders’ No. 2 hitter, William Sprowles, reached on an error in the first inning.

“I’m not really upset, just a little bit disappointed,” Smith said of missing a perfect game. “But it’s no big deal. A no-hitter is fine with me. We won the game, that’s all that’s important. As long as they didn’t score any runs, and didn’t get any hits, I’m fine.”

The Eagles, meanwhile, finally found their hitting stroke.

After struggling to nine hits and three runs in three straight losses to open the season, PCA collected eight hits and had several other hard-hit balls right at Rebul fielders on Saturday.

“We had some guys hit the ball real hard, and had a couple off the wall, and the balls are starting to come off the bats a little bit better. It’s just a matter of time before we get all our timing back and everything,” Wright said.

Still, PCA led just 1-0 until blowing the game open in the bottom of the third.

Two Rebul errors and Andrew Embry’s two-run single keyed a four-run inning that gave the Eagles a 5-0 lead.

PCA tacked on two more runs in the fourth on Trey White’s RBI double and an RBI groundout by Clayton Hensley, and finished the game with three runs in the fifth.

A throwing error allowed Embry to escape a rundown between third and home and make it 8-0, and Kyle Ehrhardt and Bliss came through with RBI singles to finish off the Raiders.

“I wish we would have put the bat on the ball a little more, but we’ll come around in a few years and be all right,” said Rebul coach John Baker, who started four eighth-graders and two freshmen.