Eagles survive and advanceBoyd’s baserunning leads to PCA victory

Published 12:30 am Saturday, April 23, 2011

Jake Boyd’s coach called it the dumbest thing he’d ever seen. Boyd said it was the smartest.

Based on the results, Boyd was correct.

Boyd, noticing a lapse in concentration among Wayne Academy’s fielders, stole third and then scored the go-ahead run when the throw skipped into left field. His Porters Chapel teammates later tacked on an insurance run, and the Eagles were able to escape their first-round MAIS Class A playoff series with a 9-7 victory in Game 3 Friday.

Sign up for The Vicksburg Post's free newsletter

Receive daily headlines and obituaries

“All I do is baserunning. I don’t play the field or nothing. I told coach use my speed and I’ll help the team any way I can,” said Boyd, a senior who often comes in the game as a baserunner but rarely plays the field or bats. “All I do in the dugout is play over situations in my head, and they gave me the situation I wanted.”

PCA lost Game 2 earlier Friday, 5-2, but thanks to Boyd’s heroics were able to advance to the second round to face either University Christian or Heidelberg Academy. That series will start Tuesday.

After dropping the second game of the series — played as the first half of a doubleheader — the Eagles were on the ropes in the decisive Game 3.

Wayne Academy (12-8) scored seven unearned runs in the game, including four in the fifth inning. Pitcher Richie Bufkin made a wild throw to first on a bases-loaded grounder, then the throw back to the infield was also off line. Three runs scored and the batter, Colby Stevens, later scored on another misplayed grounder to put the Jaguars ahead 7-6.

In the bottom of the sixth, it was PCA’s turn to take advantage of a mistake.

Jeff Hearn and Jarad Tompkins started the inning with back-to-back doubles to tie the game. Boyd entered as a courtesy runner for Tompkins, the catcher, and dealt with a couple of pickoff throws to second before noticing a flaw in Wayne’s tactics.

“At the time I was looking when he threw me back, I saw he was looking for the coach for the sign, and the catcher looked for the sign. And the third baseman just wasn’t paying attention,” Boyd said. “I kept watching that and he tried to throw me out again. I said ‘I’m sick of this. As soon as he pitches, I’m gone.’”

Boyd broke for third before pitcher Brett Chancellor even started his motion to the plate. He slid in safely, then jumped up and dashed home when the ball got away from the third baseman.

The run put PCA ahead 8-7, and they went on to add another with a hit, walk and perfect RBI bunt single by Cameron Upton.

Bourne didn’t call for Boyd to steal third on the pivotal play, but said he was happy with the results.

“He saw an opportunity that I didn’t see. I can’t be that upset when it worked out like it did,” Bourne said with a laugh. “Jake’s a smart baserunner. He’s not going to do something unless he’s about a hundred percent sure it’s going to work.”