PCA goes for playoff sweep of Riverdale today

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 1, 2003

[5/1/03]The Porters Chapel Academy Eagles admitted they were a little rusty for Game 1 of their second-round Academy-A playoff series with Riverdale on Tuesday.

They swung at bad pitches, left the bases loaded, stranded five runners in scoring position in the first three innings, and hit into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.

And they still scored 15 runs.

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With the rust very vigorously shaken off, the Eagles will try to finish off Riverdale today in Game 2 and advance to the South State championship series for the second time in three years. Game 2 of the series with Riverdale begins at 4:30 p.m., and Game 3, if necessary, will follow.

After Tuesday’s display, however, there weren’t many people on either side who were sure a Game 3 would be necessary.

“We’re just going to have to forget about this. We haven’t been beaten like this, ever, since I’ve been here,” Riverdale coach Kevin Raupp said after his team managed only one hit in a 15-0 rout. “We just have to bring our bats. When you only get one hit, it’s impossible to win the game. It doesn’t matter if it’s 15-0 or 1-0. We just have to bring our bats. I don’t think we have the pitching like they do, but I think we can hit with them. They’re the best we’ve played, by far.”

Most of Riverdale’s woes were caused by PCA pitcher Ryan Hoben. He allowed one hit and no walks while striking out 11 in seven innings, and didn’t allow a runner past second base.

Raupp said the Rebels were expecting left-hander Andrew Embry to start the series, and were thrown off a bit by the right-handed Hoben.

“That threw us off a little bit. I’ll be honest with you, we worked on left-handed curveballs (Monday). We really thought we were going to see him, but in the back of my mind I had a feeling,” Raupp said. “We really thought we were going to see him, and it was a surprise when we didn’t.”

Embry will get the ball for Game 2 today. Riverdale will counter with Eric Hester, who sports a 7-2 record and 1.98 ERA, but the Eagles were confident after their first encounter with the Rebels.

In Game 1, they shelled Riverdale ace Seth Hay for five hits and six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings. They also drew seven walks during Hay’s stint on the mound, and received 14 free passes in the game.

“I hope it gives us a lot (of confidence). The guys need to come out with some intensity and focus, and we ought to have a lot of confidence going into (today) to go ahead and close this series off in two games. That’s our goal,” PCA coach Randy Wright said.

Should the Eagles win today, they’ll advance to face either Conference 5-A rival Franklin or Amite. They beat Franklin twice this season, and have faced Amite in the playoffs each of the last two years.

In 2001, the Eagles beat Amite on the way to a state runner-up finish. Last year, Amite swept the Eagles in the second round and went on to finish as the state runner-up.

After they beat Riverdale on Tuesday, Wright reminded the Eagles that there were five more games to win before they become state champions. They know that without one more win today, however, their countdown will be put on a permanent hold.

“We’re at the house. We plan on winning anyway. We have a lot of confidence,” Hoben said.