PCA tops Tallulah, 3-0, takes reins in title race

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 12, 2002

[04/11/02]First, Gerald Mims took a hit away from Tallulah Academy. Then, he provided a big hit.

Mims, an eighth-grade right fielder for Porters Chapel Academy, threw a runner out at first in the top of the fifth, then came through with an RBI triple to break a scoreless tie as PCA won, 3-0.

PCA pitcher Andrew Embry (7-1) outdueled Tallulah’s Adam Thames, allowing only two hits, one walk and two hit batters while striking out eight in a complete-game win as PCA (15-4, 5-0 Conference 7-A) moved into first place in the conference title race.

“That was a big win for us right there. That put us in the driver’s seat,” Mims said.

Thames pitched well enough to win, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out 14 in six innings. He kept PCA off balance by switching from a good fastball to a slow curveball.

“Their pitcher did a great job of changing speeds … but we came up with some big hits in situations where we needed them,” PCA coach Randy Wright said.

Tallulah (6-5, 4-1) struggled at the plate and made several costly baserunning mistakes that hurt its chances of giving Thames (5-2) some run support.

In the first inning, Cade Marsh was called out for stepping on the plate while trying to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Marsh was also picked off after singling in the third inning, and in the fourth Stuart Frith was out after being hit by a ground ball while trying to go from second to third.

“We had some terrible baserunning,” Thames said. “We were up, and mistakes like that will bring you down quick.”

In the top of the fifth, Tallulah’s Scott James drove a line drive to right field for an apparent single. He was slow getting down the line, however, and Mims threw to first and got James by a step.

T.J. Smith reached second on a dropped fly ball to lead off the bottom of the inning and Mims came up with one out and a chance for more heroics.

He drove a ball deep to right, over the head of Tallulah outfielder Britt Grady. The ball rolled to the wall and Smith beat a strong relay throw to the plate, sliding in head-first around the tag of Tallulah catcher William Weeks.

“(Wright) told us what was going to happen,” Mims said. “T.J. was going to get on, Wes (Massey) was going to bunt him to third, and I was going to drive him in.”

After a strikeout, PCA catcher Ryan Hoben scored Mims with a double to left to make it 2-0, and the Eagles added an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth inning on an RBI fielder’s choice by Smith.

Embry took over from there, shackling the Trojans over the final four innings. After hitting Frith with a pitch to start the fourth, Embry retired 11 straight batters and 12 of the last 13.

The Trojans are still in good shape for a playoff berth, but will face River Oaks on Friday and PCA next week with little margin for error.

Tallulah coach Jacky Thames pointed out that PCA and Franklin, which is tied with Tallulah for second place, also have little breathing room.

“This’ll be a fight to the finish,” he said. “All three teams are still in the thick. It’s going to be a tough last week. Fun, but tough.”