PCA splits, fails to wrap up district title|[04/07/07]

Published 12:00 am Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Porters Chapel Eagles had a chance to do something that’s become routine for them. Instead, they ended up doing something quite unusual.

Prairie View’s J.P. Hathaway scored on a throwing error in the top of the seventh inning, capping a wild back-and-forth game and giving the Spartans a 10-9 win over PCA in the second game of a doubleheader Friday at Pierce Field.

PCA (24-2, 8-1 District 4-AA) won the first game, 5-3, and could have clinched its sixth district championship in seven years with a sweep. Instead, they suffered just their second loss to a district opponent in 59 games – a streak that dates to the start of the 2002 season – and must beat Riverfield one out of three times next week to clinch the district title.

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&#8220We were not ready to play. We did not show up to play,” said PCA coach Randy Wright, whose team crushed Prairie View 12-2 on Tuesday. &#8220For about three weeks now we’ve been going through the motions, and we finally ran into a team good enough to beat us.”

Part of PCA’s problem was fatigue. The school had its prom on Thursday, and the late night probably contributed to some of the eight errors the team made in the doubleheader. The Eagles were sluggish throughout both games and failed to get several timely hits that could have put the game away.

&#8220That’s no excuse. We didn’t play good even if we did have prom,” PCA senior shortstop Michael Busby said. &#8220We should have enough self-discipline not to do stupid stuff.”

After holding off a late charge by the Spartans in game one, PCA was never able to put them away in game two. There were nine lead changes or ties as the teams traded big innings throughout the contest.

PCA took a 9-8 lead on Spencer Pell’s RBI double in the bottom of the fifth, but Prairie View (13-7, 1-5) tied it in the sixth when Robby Jones was hit by a pitch and eventually scored on Adam Sistrunk’s RBI double.

Busby reached on an error to lead off the bottom of the inning, then Moose Carney followed with a liner to deep left that was tracked down by Prairie View’s Waylon Cox. Cox made a perfect throw back to first to double up Busby, who was almost around second base in anticipation of a gapper.

&#8220That was a huge play. To me, that was probably the game,” Prairie View coach Mike Hinton said. &#8220It gave us the feeling that we were going to win the game. When you take speed off the bases like Porters Chapel has, it’s a big play.”

Prairie View didn’t capitalize on its newfound momentum right away, though. PCA reliever Matt Cranfield struck out the first two batters in the top of the seventh.

Hathaway, the Spartans’ No. 9 hitter, then worked a two-out walk and Jones followed with a single to put runners at first and third. Cox then hit a dribbler down the third base line. Cole Smith fielded it cleanly, but one-hopped a throw past first baseman Moose Carney, allowing Hathaway to score the go-ahead run.

Cranfield struck out the next batter to end the inning, but the Eagles were retired in order in the bottom of the seventh to end the game. Afterward, a frustrated Wright said he wasn’t sure how his team would respond.

&#8220I don’t know what this team’s going to do. We scored nine runs tonight, that ought to be enough to win,” Wright said. &#8220Bottom line is, we stunk it up.”

PCA 5, Prairie View 3

Moose Carney hit a two-run double, and Cole Smith and Hayden Hales each had RBI singles during a four-run third inning that propelled PCA to a win in game one.

Carney and Smith each had two hits and two RBIs, while Hales scattered five hits and struck out seven in six innings on the mound.

Robby Jones hit a two-run homer in the sixth inning for Prairie View, a shot that cut it to 5-3. Hales got out of the inning, though, and Brady Towne pitched a perfect seventh to earn the save.