PCA pitchers stifling in win

Published 10:39 am Wednesday, March 19, 2014

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CLINTON — Porters Chapel Academy’s pitchers were nearly untouchable Tuesday.
It might have been a peek at what’s in store for the rest of the teams in District 5-A.
Sam Kirk and Ben Harper didn’t allow a ball out of the infield while combining on a five-inning no-hitter, and the Eagles routed Clinton Christian 13-0 in their district opener.
PCA won for the sixth time in eight games, and did it in style. Kirk and Harper combined for 11 strikeouts, and each walked a batter and hit a batter. Clinton Christian (2-2, 0-1 District 5-A) only put three balls in play. At the plate, PCA (7-6, 1-0) had 14 hits and scored six runs or more for the eighth consecutive game.
It was also the first time this season that PCA has not committed an error.
“It took us a little while to get the bats rolling, but right now we’re hitting the ball good, putting it in play and making things happen offensively, and we’re playing decent defense,” PCA coach Chris Mixon said. “We expect to win. We come to the ballfield, and no matter who we play, we expect to win. It doesn’t matter if we’re playing Clinton Christian or Tri-County. I think we have the ball club here to compete with anybody in the state.”
PCA scored five runs in the top of the first, which was plenty for their pitching tandem. Kirk struck out five of the seven batters he faced while working the first two innings, then gave way to Harper.
Harper, who switched to a submarine style delivery in the offseason, struck out six batters over the last three innings. He nearly lost the no-hitter twice in the fifth, but was bailed out by shortstop Steven Busma.
Busma snared a line drive off the bat of Shea Cronin for the first out of the inning, then made a strong throw from deep in the hole near third to get Steven Boone for the second out.
Harper finished the no-hitter by striking out Ethan Boyd.
“I’m glad he did that. That was a slider that I couldn’t get broke off. He caught it and cleaned it up behind me,” Harper said of Busma’s second play. “I didn’t realize it (the no-hitter) until the last inning. I don’t let things like that get to me on the mound. But it feels real good to know we got a combined no-hitter.”
Busma — and a lot of other players — also provided plenty of support at the plate. Busma went 3-for-3 with three singles, a walk, an RBI and four runs scored. Booth Buys was 3-for-4 with a double and two RBIs, Hunter Lyons doubled and drove in three runs, and Brandon Beck was 2-for-4 with a double and three RBIs.
Eight of PCA’s nine starters had at least one hit.
The Eagles jumped on top 5-0 after one inning, hit a lull, then put it away with five more runs in the fifth to win by the 10-run mercy rule.
“Most of the time we hit it right at them. I like the way we’re playing right now. We’re hitting it good. You‘ve got to make them make a play,” Buys said.

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About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 139-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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