Eagles’ bats silent against Spartans, 7-0

Published 12:00 am Monday, March 11, 2002

Ryan Hoben of Porters Chapel delivers a pitch as shortstop T.J. Smith gets ready. Hoben didn’t get any run support and the Eagles fell, 7-0, to Academy AAA Prairie View Saturday. (The Vicksburg Post/C. TODD SHERMAN)

[03/10/02]Like the rest of Warren County’s schools, Porters Chapel Academy will head to spring break this week. The Eagles’ bats seemed to start the vacation a little early, however.

PCA (3-3) managed only four hits Saturday all singles and struck out 11 times in a 7-0 loss to Academy-AAA Prairie View (4-1).

Prairie View pitcher Paul Faulkenberry struck out eight, allowed three hits in four innings and helped his own cause with an RBI single, and Cole Johnson hit a three-run home run that broke the game open in the fifth inning.

“We’re not hitting the baseball right now. The bottom line is we have a good pitching staff, but we do not have a dominant pitching staff that is going to go out and throw shutouts,” PCA coach Randy Wright said. “Teams are going to score two, three, four, five runs against us, and we are going to have to go out and score some runs to win baseball games.”

Three of Prairie View’s first four batters in the top of the first singled, and Faulkenberry’s hit to left gave the Spartans a 1-0 lead.

PCA pitcher Ryan Hoben settled in after that, retiring 10 of the next 12 batters, but the Eagles left three runners in scoring position in the first two innings and Hoben got into trouble in the fifth.

After a walk to second baseman Trevor Stutts, Johnson blasted a high fastball over the center-field fence to give Prairie View a 4-0 lead.

Faulkenberry was relieved by Nick Freeland to start the fifth, and the Eagles didn’t fare any better against the new pitcher. Freeland faced the minimum over the last three innings, allowing only a sixth-inning single to Humphrey Barlow. Barlow was quickly erased by an inning-ending double play.

Meanwhile, PCA’s pitchers were struggling in the later innings. Hoben was pulled after giving up a leadoff double to Josh Morrison in the seventh, and reliever Chase Towne walked four of the five batters he faced before giving way to Gerald Mims.

The wildness, as well as a PCA error, led to three runs for the Spartans and a 7-0 lead.

“We made some mental errors, and mental errors are things that drive coaches crazy in baseball. And we had a couple of those tonight,” Wright said. “But that’s not why we lost the game. We lost the game because we’re not hitting.”

PCA will try to find its hitting stroke Monday when it hosts Central Hinds at noon in the PCA Spring Break tournament. The Eagles face Greenville Christian Tuesday at 1:30 p.m. and Canton at noon on Wednesday.