Clutch sixth leads to PCA title

Published 12:00 am Friday, May 15, 2009

For five innings, Bayou Academy pitcher Stewart Salley had Porters Chapel Academy hitters guessing.

Then in what has become a familiar theme for the PCA in the MPSA Class A playoffs, things started happening. A wayward bunt by Montana McDaniel that was just suppose to move the potential tying run in 1-0 game up a base set off a chain reaction that led to five huge runs and propelled the Eagles (25-8) to the school’s third state championship this decade and the first since 2006. PCA’s 5-1 win Thursday evening over Bayou ended the Colts’ two-year reign as MPSA Class A champs.

And it started with McDaniel’s popped-up bunt.

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“I really tried to get it down, but the ball was high and I just went with it and tried to push it by the pitcher,” McDaniel said. He pushed it all the way over Salley’s head and the Colts pitcher was unable to make a play.

“Our defense was playing back in double play depth and I threw that pitch high. He hit it further than I thought it was going and I couldn’t get to it,” Salley said.

McDaniel was safe at first and Colby Rushing, who had led off with a single to right, was now on second, with still no out.

Salley then made another mistake, hitting Joe Borrello in the arm.

“I threw a curveball there and it slipped,” Salley said. The bases were now loaded.

The Colts now had to draw in their infield and then it was Josh Perry’s turn to come up big.

“Everything was kind of working to our advantage. I wanted to keep it going. We got determined,” Perry said.

Perry sent a ball past a diving shortstop and it was good enough to score Rushing and McDaniel for a 2-1 lead.

Josh Hill followed with a flyball to left and it was deep enough to score Borrello even though he just did avoid a tag on the relay throw. Salley then induced two groundballs to third base, but both times instead of going home, the play went to first and the Eagles  managed two more runs to take a commanding 5-1 lead.

“In that last inning, nothing went our way,” Salley said. “If we could’ve got the tag at the plate, we might get out of it down just 2-1. It just didn’t go our way.”

Through the first five innings, Salley had things going his way. He struck out eight through the first four innings and then retired the side in order in the fifth. Two of his punchouts came against McDaniel, PCA’s most dangerous hitter.

“I just couldn’t get going against him,” McDaniel said. “He’d throw a big fast ball and then come back with the curve ball and I would chase it. We were just dead for those five innings.”

Bayou coach Rodney Martin, however, didn’t think a 1-0 score would hold up. He was right.

“As good as the game was played, I knew the winner of this series was going to win it at the plate.”


Contact Jeff Byrd at