Porters Chapel lays claim to Academy 5-A championship

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 20, 2004

[4/17/04]WINNSBORO, La. Porters Chapel Academy earned another conference championship trophy and some time off on Friday.

Michael Shinn and Ryan Hoben each drove in two runs, and Justin Boler settled down after a shaky first inning to strike out nine in a complete-game win as PCA beat Franklin 9-4 for the Conference 5-A title.

The win was the 38th straight in conference play for the Eagles (22-1, 14-0), and gave them their fourth consecutive conference championship. Thanks to a schedule change made earlier in the day by the Mississippi Private Schools Association, it also gave them a first-round bye in the Academy-A playoffs.

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“The kids have just done an outstanding job of battling and figuring out ways to win games. We absolutely did not play our best game today. We left runners on in probably every inning, but still found a way to win,” said PCA coach Randy Wright, whose team left the bases loaded twice but still managed to beat Franklin for the eighth straight time. “They scratched and they clawed and they found a way to win the ballgame, and that’s the mark of a champion.”

After Boler gave PCA a 1-0 lead with a solo homer in the top of the first, Franklin roughed him up for three runs in the bottom of the inning. Tyler Harris knocked in a run with a double, and the Cougars (24-5, 12-2) scored two more runs on a wild pitch and a double steal.

The lead only lasted until the third inning, though, when Franklin imploded. PCA rallied for five runs all with two outs to take the lead for good. Three runs scored on two wild pitches and a passed ball, and Hoben and Shinn added RBI singles for a 6-3 lead.

The Eagles went on to add insurance runs in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, all with some help from the Cougars.

In the fifth, four walks forced in a run. In the sixth, another walk set up a bases-loaded, RBI single by Hoben. And in the seventh, Michael Busby circled the bases when Franklin third baseman Trent McCoy skipped a throw past first baseman John Armstrong.

The throw went down the right field line, and Busby never stopped. Busby slid safely into third as Darren Graham’s throw went past the infield, and he got up and sprinted home to put PCA ahead 9-4.

“We’ve been pitching well all year, and this was by far not their best night of pitching,” Franklin coach Ryan Ellington said of his staff, which surrendered seven walks, nine hits, and uncorked two wild pitches. “When you don’t have anybody on the mound who’s got their best stuff against a good team, you get beat.”