McDaniel gets win in Game 1

Published 12:00 am Thursday, May 14, 2009

CANTON — Bayou Academy coach Rodney Martin wasn’t too disappointed about the 4-2 loss in eight innings to Porters Chapel Academy in Game 1 of the MPSA Class A state championship series Wednesday afternoon at Canton’s Academy’s Jim Butchart Field.

Despite now needing two straight wins to earn a third straight state title, Martin feels his Colts have enough pitching to come back. Porters Chapel (24-8), however, needs just one win and the Eagles can close out the series tonight at 6 with a Game 2 win at Pierce Field.

The Eagles will send out junior Reed Gordon, who has won two of his three playoff starts. Bayou (23-7) will turn to its ace in Stewart Salley (10-1) with the job of squaring the series and send it to a Game 3 Friday afternoon in Cleveland.

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When asked why they would hold their ace out until Game 2, Martin gave a quick response.

‘That’s just the way we do things. The way I look at it is, we threw our No. 3 against their ace, and we were 2-2 going to the eighth. They got two big hits in the eighth to beat us, but that’s part of it. I think Winn (Roark) did a great job. He gave up what, six hits, against what people told me was an unbelievably great hitting team in Porters Chapel,” Martin said.

“One of the reasons why we throw Winn first is that people didn’t know who he was. And here he comes and wins seven games and this was his first loss. Tomorrow, we throw our ace in Salley against their No. 2 and we still have (Austin) Payne left,” Martin said.

For Game 1, though, the day belonged to Porters Chapel ace Montana McDaniel. The sophomore right-hander allowed just four hits, all by the third inning. After Bayou had scored its only two runs in the third inning to tie the game at 2, McDaniel received a visit from PCA coach Randy Wright and got refocused.

“I just needed to hit my spots better, use my curveball more, and throw strikes,” McDaniel said. “If I got ahead, I could get them to chase.”

McDaniel did that, retiring the next 17 Colts in order after John Mangilardi’s RBI single in the third inning. He had six of his nine strikeouts over the five-plus inning span, four of which came in Bayou’s last three turns at bat.

“My curveball got a lot more effective later in the game,” McDaniel said.

Salley, agreed.

“He (McDaniel) had a pretty good curveball. He did a good job of keeping us off-balanced,” Salley said.

“I was impressed,” Martin said. “He did a real good job. We were told he was their best. It was a good ball game. Had we done a couple of things differently, it may have been a different outcome. But hey, it’s a three-game series.”

Roark, meanwhile, struggled over his first two innings, then found a groove for five innings, before running into trouble again in the eighth. He threw 53 pitches in PCA’s first two turns, giving up a solo home run to Colby Rushing in the first and then hitting three batters in the arm and later walked in a run to give PCA a 2-0 lead after two complete.

After Bayou rallied to tie it at 2 in the bottom of the third, Roark helped keep it tied by throwing five straight scoreless innings. He gave up just a pair of singles and a pair of walks in that span. Two of the Eagle runners were thrown out on the base paths to keep Roark from getting into any deep jams.

In the eighth, however, Roark had thrown 117 pitches. He gave up a leadoff double to Josh Perry on the first pitch of the inning. Perry then went to third on a sac bunt and then scored the go-ahead run on a fly ball to center by Matthew Warren. Gordon blasted a solo home run off Roark’s 122nd offering to give PCA its eventual winning margin of 4-2.


Contact Jeff Byrd at