Old nemesis UCS gets best of struggling Porters Chapel

Published 12:00 am Monday, April 2, 2001

[04/02/01] Porters Chapel Academy’s season-long hitting slump finally caught up to it Saturday afternoon against University Christian.

The Eagles managed only three hits, struck out 12 times against UC pitcher Jeremy Phillips, and lost their first game against an Academy-A team this year, 4-0.

PCA has struggled at the plate all season, and has only seven hits in its last two games.

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“It’s real frustrating. We’re just not hitting. It’s like we’re in a rut, we’re digging and clawing and trying to get out, but we just can’t seem to get out of it,” said PCA pitcher Trey White (2-3), who struck out five and walked none, but allowed nine hits. “There’s no easy solutions to it. We’ve just got to keep doing what we’ve been doing, keep hitting in the cage and spend more time in it. We’re being told every day that we can’t hit, and that’s not helping us.”

PCA coach Randy Wright said he couldn’t figure out why the same team that had eight starters each hit over .300 last season was struggling so much this year.

“It’s frustrating, because these are the same guys that hit as well as they did last year, and we’re not hitting the ball well at all right now,” he said. “There’s no doubt these guys can hit. I mean, you come out here to watch batting practice and you can see they can hit. They all smash it in practice. Then we get into a game and we don’t hit the ball … But we’re 12-5, we’re not doing that bad. We’re 4-0 in the district, so don’t give up on us yet.”

Tyler Allen and Rylan Minschew each went 3-for-4 to lead University Christian (7-5). Allen had two doubles and an RBI, while Minschew had a double and a pair of RBI singles.

Allen and Minschew outhit PCA by themselves, and had a hand in all four UC runs. Allen doubled in the first and scored on Minschew’s RBI single to make it 1-0, and Minschew doubled and scored on a sacrifice fly in the fourth to put the Flames ahead 2-0.

Phillips (2-0), meanwhile, didn’t allow a hit until White’s bloop single in the bottom of the fourth.

That hit was part of PCA’s biggest rally, and followed a leadoff walk to Walter Bliss. The next two Eagle hitters popped out to first including one on a bunt before pinch-hitter Josh Rush lined a single to left-center.

Courtesy runner Joseph Ivey got a bad jump on the play, however, and had to stop at third. Phillips then bounced back with a strikeout to end the inning.

“Josh … came up with a big hit. Not getting the bunt down hurt us. If we’d have gotten the bunt down the at-bat before that, that base hit probably would have tied the game,” PCA coach Randy Wright said. “I thought that was a big play in the ballgame.”

Allen delivered an RBI double in the fifth, and scored on an RBI single by Minschew to extend UC’s lead to 4-0. PCA didn’t threaten again until the bottom of the seventh, when T.J. Smith led off with a double.

Phillips came up big again, however, striking out the next two PCA hitters on seven pitches. He walked Kyle Ehrhardt to put runners at first and third, then got Heath Smith to fly out to right to end the game.

The loss continued PCA’s losing streak to UC, a former conference foe. The Eagles haven’t beaten the four-time defending state champion Flames during Wright’s six years at PCA.

“They’ve got a good team. They’ve won four state championships in a row, and until somebody knocks them out of the playoffs, they still have to be considered the favorite,” Wright said. “It’s frustrating that we didn’t beat them or that we didn’t beat them last year, or the year before, or the year before or the year before … Because I’ve felt that we’ve had teams that could have beaten them if we could get one or two balls that bounce our way. It just hasn’t happened.”