Eagles seize the day in Game 1 in extras|Opinion

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 14, 2009

CANTON — Carpe diem.

It’s a Latin phrase that means “seize the day.”

Porters Chapel seized the day in Wednesday’s Game 1 against Bayou Academy with a 4-2 win in eight innings. It came on a day when the Eagle offense struggled mightily after the first two innings to put the ball in play. Nine runners were stranded and three were picked off.

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Going into the top of the eighth, the score was knotted 2-2. Outfielder Josh Perry led off the frame and did something he hadn’t done all year with an inside fastball. He pulled it.

Perry seized the day.

“I’ve never pulled a ball, so I’m wondering what happened,” Perry said about the leadoff double that zipped down the left-field line with a purpose. “I was just anxious and I got around on it quick.”

PCA coach Randy Wright went to something the hard-hitting Eagles, who thrive on line drives through the gaps, never do. He gave catcher Josh Hill the bunt signal so the Eagles could get a runner in scoring position.

Hill killed the ball off the bat perfectly and it rolled exactly two feet from the plate. Hill nearly beat out the throw, but moved over Hill to third with one out.

Hill seized the day.

“I think I bunted once,” Hill said. “That was when I was in a bad slump. I was hoping I could beat it out, but I kept thinking that I did not want to pop it up. I scooted way up in the box, put the bat way up on the ball, pushed it down and as soon as I saw it go down, I started smiling when I ran to first base.”

Then third baseman Matt Warren took his turn in the box. With a runner standing on third, he did exactly what was required. He launched an offering deep into the outfield. It was a long out, but it was long enough to allow Perry to tag up and score the go-ahead run.

Warren seized the day.

“I was nervous,” Warren said. “I just didn’t want to hit the ball up into the infield. I just wanted to try to put it on the ground or drive it deep into the outfield.”

Reed Gordon, who possesses a big swing and routinely drives balls out of the park in batting practice, hadn’t hit a home run all season. With no runners on, he felt no pressure. Bayou pitcher Winn Roark fired his 122nd pitch, a fastball, up and in on Gordon. Talk in the PCA dugout had been about how nice it’d be if Gordon could go it deep and it’d be prophetic.

Gordon seized the day.

The Eagles’ designated hitter blasted a moonshot that went over the lights and would have been way out of most ballparks.

“We just needed more runs to help Montana (McDaniel) out on the mound,” Gordon said. “It was awesome. It was a real clutch play, but I would have settled for a double any day. Hitting is hitting.”

Eagle ace McDaniel then retired the last three in the bottom of the frame to end the contest. After giving up an RBI single in the third inning, McDaniel sat down 17 in a row.

McDaniel seized the day.

“Great job with a leadoff double by Josh Perry,” Wright said. “It was a surprising double because he’s not a pull hitter and he pulled it down the left field line. It was a great job by Josh Hill to get him to third, a perfect bunt.

“It was a great job of situational hitting by Matt Warren with the flyball to center to get the RBI and give us a lead. It was just fundamental baseball in the top of the eighth.”

In the end, seizing the day is what PCA did. They took advantage of every break and came up big in the clutch, just 21 outs away from a state title that seemed unlikely just weeks before.

“I just think we’re a team of destiny,” Perry said. “We’ve done this a couple of times, played around and come through when we needed to. It’s just supposed to happen.”

Carpe diem indeed.

Steve Wilson is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. Write to him at Box 821668, Vicksburg, MS 39182, or e-mail swilson@vicksburgpost.com..