PCA will be well represented at Academy A-AA all-star game

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 30, 2003

[5/30/03]Randy Wright was all set to step aside as an all-star coach and let someone else enjoy the experience. Once he got a look at the final roster, though, he wasn’t about to let the chance of a lifetime slip away.

Wright, who guided Porters Chapel Academy to an Academy-A state championship this season, will coach three of his players one last time at Saturday’s MPSA Academy A-AA all-star game at Mississippi College in Clinton.

Second baseman Aaron Curry, center fielder Chase Towne, and first baseman/pitcher Andrew Embry will play for the South team in the game, which begins at 1 p.m. at MC’s Frierson Field. Admission is $5.

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“That was the deciding factor in me coaching the team, to be honest.,” said Wright, who also served as an assistant coach in the all-star game in 2001. “If I didn’t have any players on the team, I would have declined and let somebody else do it because I just did it two years ago. “I’m really looking forward to coaching those guys one last time.”

The PCA players were also eager to play one more game with Wright. After joking that they were sick of seeing him after five years in the same dugout, the affection for their coach was clear.

“That’s nice. We got to win a state championship together, and now we have a chance to go out on a win,” Embry said.

Wright’s reward, serving as an assistant coach, came for leading the Eagles to the South State championship. Since Wright is considered a part-time employee at PCA he coaches, but doesn’t teach any classes MPSA rules prohibit him from being a head coach for the all-star game.

The honor for his players came after a year of dominance in the Academy-A ranks.

PCA had a 23-game winning streak this season and finished 29-3. The Eagles went 14-0 in conference play, winning their third straight title, and only lost one game on the road and to a Class A opponent.

This is the first time PCA has had the maximum number of three players on an all-star team since the annual game began in 1981, and the third time since 1999 that the Eagles have landed at least two roster spots. PCA had two players on the team in 1999 and 2001, as well as in 1988.

“I’m glad we have more representation in the all-star game. We deserve it,” said Embry, who hit .335 with 37 RBIs and a team-high 10 home runs this season, and also went 9-2 with 103 strikeouts and a 1.60 ERA on the mound. “It just shows the respect we have gained this year.”

Towne, Embry and Curry gained plenty of respect this year. Not just from opponents, but from college coaches as well.

Towne who hit .457 for the second straight year, scored 40 runs and drove in 36 more and Embry have received offers from Hinds and Meridian Community Colleges, respectively.

Curry hasn’t received any scholarship offers, but was hoping to draw some attention with a solid effort Saturday. If he’s not able to play at the next level, though, Curry said he was ready to move on.

“Maybe they’ll see something good in me and I’ll get a scholarship offer,” said Curry, who hit .407, drove in 26 runs from the leadoff spot this season and committed only four errors at second base.

No matter the outcome, another goal is clear for all three players to have fun and go out with a bang. Winning a state championship after years of hard work has taken the edge off, as well as most of the real pressure.

“It’s just time to relax,” Curry said.