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Week off is a killer’ as PCA heads into playoffs

[4/20/04]Randy Wright has worked hard over the last eight years to build Porters Chapel Academy into a baseball powerhouse. So it’s understandable that he’s a little annoyed when the Eagles are sitting at home, again, for the first round of the Academy-A playoffs.

PCA earned a first-round bye for the fourth straight season on Friday by beating Franklin to win the Conference 5-A championship. It’s supposed to be a reward for a successful season, but Wright was less than thrilled to get it.

“It’s absolutely not a reward as far as I’m concerned,” Wright said. “It’s difficult to have a week off before you’re starting your playoff stretch. Baseball is all about timing and repetition, and having 10 days off between games is a killer.”

The Mississippi Private Schools Association, which has seven conferences in Class A, rotates its two byes among the champions from Conferences 5-A, 6-A, and 7-A.

PCA earned two straight first-round byes in 2001 and 2002 as champions of 7-A, then switched to 5-A as part of the 2003 realignment plan and got another bye.

This season, Conferences 6-A and 7-A were originally slated to receive byes. Late last week, however, MPSA officials realized that it was Conference 5-A’s turn and redrew the playoff brackets.

That decision, coming hours before PCA played Franklin, forced Wright to fall back on his old routine of scouting, practicing, and working the phones to find a team with an open date.

“We were gearing up to play and it’s a little disappointing,” Wright said. “I’d rather not have the bye. I would rather play. But we’re pretty used to it.”

Wright has managed to schedule a game on Thursday at Central Hinds and has been talking with Simpson Academy.