Eagles hold on for win against Central Hinds|Prep baseball

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, March 30, 2010

RAYMOND — If nothing else, it’s been an exciting week for Porters Chapel.

The Eagles squandered most of a five-run lead Monday night before surviving for a 7-6 victory over Central Hinds. It was PCA’s third consecutive game decided by one run and the second it has won.

“It’s helping us to learn how to shut games down at the end. That’s going to help us when we get to the playoffs,” said PCA’s Matthew Warren, who drove in two runs and pitched out of two jams in the sixth and seventh innings to earn his first save of the season.

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The Eagles (7-4) aren’t quite to the playoffs yet, but can take a big step today when they face Calvary Christian in a matchup of MAIS District 5-A co-leaders. A win would give PCA a three-game lead over third-place University Christian with five district games remaining, and all but assure the Eagles of their 12th consecutive playoff berth. The top two teams in each district qualify for the postseason.

“That’s a big game for us,” PCA coach Jerry Bourne said. “That’s for sole possession of first place in the district. These last three games will prepare us. We win, that’ll put us in a really good position.”

Central Hinds (7-7) might have pulled out the win Monday if not for a string of baserunning blunders. It had four runners picked off — including two on the same play in the third inning — and another thrown out at third as he tried to move up on McCaa Donald’s sacrifice fly in the fifth inning.

Central Hinds coach Todd Montgomery said some of the miscues were caused by PCA pitcher John Michael Harris’ pickoff move. Montgomery claimed it was a balk and argued that to the umpires on several occasions, but no balks were called.

“We had a couple of baserunning mistakes. Both were balks, and I’ll go to my grave saying they were,” Montgomery said. “But we still have to be better baserunners than that.”

PCA missed its own chances to put the game away early.

Colby Rushing broke a 2-2 tie with a two-run single in the top of the fourth inning, and Harris added an RBI single two batters later to give the Eagles a 5-2 lead. Two more runs scored on an error and an RBI groundout by Cameron Upton in the fifth to made it 7-2.

PCA only had one baserunner the rest of the game, however, while Central Hinds staged an impressive comeback. Donald’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the fifth made it 7-3, and the Cougars got within one in the sixth. Lee Douglas reached base with a one-out double and scored on Blake Bishop’s RBI single. Austin Sills followed with a two-run homer over the left-center field fence to cut it to 7-6.

Central Hinds had runners in scoring position in both the sixth and seventh innings, thanks to a pair of outfield errors, but Warren pitched his way out of trouble each time. With runners on second and third with two outs in the seventh, Warren got Collin McClure to hit an easy grounder to second for the final out.

“We had momentum and didn’t get that hit. That’s how this year has been going,” Central Hinds coach Todd Montgomery said. “I told the guys there’s no such thing as a good loss, but that was a good loss. We fell short on the scoreboard, but overall we played well.”

Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com