Eagles start run to repeat today at 7

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, April 27, 2004

[4/27/04]All season long, the Porters Chapel Academy Eagles have expected to face two roadblocks on their way to another state championship division rival Franklin and likely state finalist Heidelberg.

That would make this week’s second-round series against Wilkinson County Christian little more than a speed bump.

PCA (23-1) begins the defense of its Academy-A state title tonight at 7 in Woodville against WCCA. Game 2 of the best-of-three series is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Thursday at PCA, and Game 3, if necessary, would follow.

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The Eagles said they weren’t taking WCCA lightly, but they didn’t seem to be taking them too seriously, either.

“Personally, I don’t think there’s anybody in 1A that’s as good as us,” said PCA pitcher Ryan Hoben, the starter for Game 1. “But we don’t have to play but one team a week now, so we’re not going to overlook anybody.”

WCCA is a new face in the playoffs. The Rams played their first home playoff game in 20 years last week and dispatched Claiborne, La., with a two-game sweep. WCCA (12-9) scored 24 runs in its two games against Claiborne, but PCA coach Randy Wright didn’t seem too concerned about the Rams’ capabilities.

He limited his team to batting practice only on Monday, partially because the school’s field was too wet to play on and partially because of the Eagles’ track record this season.

PCA has been held under 10 runs just three times this year, twice by Franklin. PCA has lost one game to an Academy-A team in the last two years, and wasn’t expecting to have a hard time this week.

“I’ve heard that their pitching is average, and that should benefit us because we’ve hit average pitching well,” Wright said. “But they’re still playing, and they’ve got to be pretty good to have won a playoff series.”

The biggest concern for the Eagles is their own rustiness. Thanks to a couple of rainouts and a first-round bye, they’ve only played two games in the last 17 days.

Wright’s worries were tempered by a 14-1 shellacking of Bowling Green on Friday, however, and the experience gained over the last few years.

“I would have liked to have played a little more,” Wright said. “But hopefully we’ve had enough experience to battle through the time off and come out and play well.”