PCA goes for Calvary sweep

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Even as his team was unraveling around him Monday, Calvary Christian coach Jerry Dean knew he had an ace in the hole.

Or to be more precise, in center field.

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PCA hosts Calvary

Thursday, 4 p.m.

Porters Chapel hammered error-prone Calvary 13-5 in Game 1 of their second-round MAIS Class A playoff series Monday. Game 2 and, if necessary, Game 3, are Thursday at PCA. Despite the lopsided loss, Dean will have his top two pitchers available for the potential doubleheader, giving the Cougars an advantage — if they can get to a Game 3.

“You never want to start a series in a hole, but he does have his best chance to win the series this way,” PCA coach Jerry Bourne said. “I’m glad to get a Game 1 win. I’d rather have that.”

Bourne will go with Matthew Warren in Game 2, while Dean will have ace Matt Seward — who played center field on Monday — and No. 2 pitcher Kyle Koch at the ready.

Seward kept PCA in check in two regular-season games. He held them to one run through three innings before errors led to a 13-3 PCA victory on March 30, then allowed six hits in a 13-4 Calvary victory on April 12. Neither Seward nor Koch were available for Game 1 of the playoff series because they pitched in the first-round clincher against Alpha Christian three days earlier.

“The other two both pitched Friday night. (Seward) started and (Koch) finished. I didn’t think he had seven innings in him,” Dean said.

Although it won Game 1, PCA’s pitching got stretched thin.

Ace Montana McDaniel threw the first four innings before giving way to Reed Gordon, who faced three batters and gave up a run that made the score 11-1. Trying to end the game by the mercy rule, Bourne brought McDaniel back to the mound. McDaniel, though, hit two of the four batters he faced and walked another to force in two runs.

John Michael Harris replaced McDaniel and pitched the last 22⁄3 innings. McDaniel threw a total of 90 pitches, which will likely limit him if the series goes to a third game.

“I feel like I can close. Maybe two innings,” McDaniel said.

Dean was happy his team rallied, not only to give it a lift after a game in which it committed nine errors, but also to wear down the Eagles’ pitching staff.

“It made them bring Montana back to the mound and we got some good looks at the lefty. For a loss, it’s a good outlook for Thursday,” Dean said.

Luckily, the Eagles have Warren rested and ready to go. The junior right-hander is 7-0 this season and closed out the first-round series with Heidelberg by throwing a two-hitter.

“I’m not concerned at all about our pitching depth. We’ve got plenty of pitching,” Bourne said.

Contact Ernest Bowker at ebowker@vicksburgpost.com