PCA rebounds after first loss to slam University Christian

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Porters Chapel Academy’s Wes Massey beats the throw to first base against Manchester Academy during the Eagles’ spring break tournament on Monday. Manchester handed PCA its first loss of the season, 16-11, but the Eagles rebounded to beat University Christian in the second game. (Melanie Duncan ThortisThe Vicksburg Post)

[3/11/03]Beating University Christian is always nice for Porters Chapel Academy coach Randy Wright. Beating them after seeing his team play its worst game of the season just made it a little sweeter.

No. 8 PCA committed seven errors and allowed five unearned runs in the seventh inning of a 16-11 loss to Manchester to open the PCA Spring Break Tournament on Monday, then bounced back to rout No. 10 University Christian 9-2 later in the day.

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Michael Shinn went 2-for-4 with three RBIs against University Christian, while Humphrey Barlow and Josh Rush each had two hits, and Andrew Embry and Chase Towne hit back-to-back home runs as PCA (5-1) beat University Christian for only the second time in Wright’s eight seasons as coach. It was also PCA’s third win over a ranked team this season.

“I was proud that we bounced back and played well tonight. We stunk earlier in the day, got together, came back and played a good, solid baseball game tonight, made routine plays on defense, hit the baseball, pitched well,” Wright said.

University Christian, meanwhile, has struggled early in the season. The Flames (0-6) lost six starters from last year’s squad, and have struggled with inexperience, injuries, and a tough schedule, coach Marcus Canoy said.

“Athletically, we’re better than we were last year. We just have to get the mental part of the game. We’re going to get better. We got beat here last year and turned it around and went deep into the playoffs, and that’s what’s going to happen now,” Canoy said.

Monday’s tilt between the Eagles and Flames was far less intense and memorable than some of their past battles. Shinn’s two-out, two-run single in the bottom of the first put PCA ahead 2-0, and the Eagles never relinquished the lead.

After UC’s Coty Smith cut it to 2-1 with a sacrifice fly in the second inning, PCA tacked on three more runs in the third to increase the lead to 5-1.

Although they jumped on top early, the Eagles’ bats didn’t really get going until the bottom of the fourth. Embry led off with a home run to left-center that hit off a pickup truck parked behind the fence, and Towne followed with another homer just a few feet shorter and to the left of where Embry hit his.

Rush, Barlow, and Ryan Hoben followed with hard-hit singles, the last two to score runs, as PCA took a 9-1 lead and blew the game open.

“That kind of sparked us all. You saw where we got hit after hit after hit. I mean, it just kept on going. Sometimes you have to step up like that, and somebody has to get a big hit or a big home run to get everything started,” Embry said.

Hoben kept the Flames at bay and the Eagles in control from there. He pitched out of several jams in the game, but still held UC to six hits while walking four and striking out 12 in a complete game.

Manchester 16, PCA 11

Manchester got three hits apiece from Michael Berry and Daniel Biggers, and scored five unearned runs in the top of the seventh inning to hand PCA its first loss of the season in the opening game of the PCA Spring Break Tournament.

Wes Massey and Gerald Mims each had two hits and an RBI for PCA, while Chase Towne and Aaron Curry each drove in a run.

PCA will host Benton today at 4 p.m.