PCA trio finishes together as all-stars

Published 10:32 am Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sam Kirk, Jonah Masterson and Steven Busma have been lifelong friends. For six years, Kirk and Masterson were also teammates and Busma joined them this year.

With ties that run so deep, then, it seems fitting that the Porters Chapel Academy trio will ride off into the baseball sunset together.

All three players will play their final high school game Friday afternoon at Smith-Wills Stadium in the MAIS Class A All-Star Game.

Porters Chapel's Steven Busma delivers a pitch against Rebul Academy earlier this season. Busma, along with teammates Sam Kirk and Jonah Masterson, will play in the MAIS Class A All-Star Game Friday in Jackson. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

Porters Chapel’s Steven Busma delivers a pitch against Rebul Academy earlier this season. Busma, along with teammates Sam Kirk and Jonah Masterson, will play in the MAIS Class A All-Star Game Friday in Jackson. (Justin Sellers/The Vicksburg Post)

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“We all grew up together. Sam and me went to kindergarten, and Steven we’ve always known from church and being around him,” Masterson said. “All getting to play together in the all-star game, it’s icing on the cake.”

PCA had at least one all-star each year from 1999 through 2012, and this is the ninth time in the last 15 years that it has had multiple selections.

The game is for graduating seniors. Last year, PCA’s only two seniors were both little-used reserves, and its 14-year all-star streak ended.

Masterson said continuing the school’s all-star tradition was an honor.

“With the past players that have made it to the all-star game, it’s pretty cool,” Masterson said. “It’s cool to know we get to be in that group.”

The 2014 season was PCA’s best since 2011. The Eagles won the District 5-A championship to end a three-year playoff drought and posted their best record since 2011, when they reached the South State finals.

Kirk, like Masterson, said rekindling PCA’s baseball tradition was a nice way to finish his high school career.

Sam Kirk

Sam Kirk

“This is the first year in three years we did a lot of things — all-star game, playoffs, district champions,” Kirk said. “I remember freshman year looking up to the seniors that led the team to all those district championships and playoffs, and now being one of the seniors that did that is humbling.”

Masterson was a five-year starter in baseball for PCA, as well as the football team’s starting quarterback for four seasons. He’s moved all over the diamond, starting as an outfielder before seeing time at catcher, first base and second base over the course of his high school career.

He hit .404 this season with 23 RBIs. Masterson has accepted an offer to walk on at Hinds Community College.

Jonah Masterson

Jonah Masterson

Busma transferred from Warren Central last summer and had a stellar senior season. He was second on the team with a .420 batting average, six doubles, 18 RBIs, 23 stolen bases and a team-high 38 runs scored.

On the mound, he went 4-3 with a 3.67 ERA and 41 strikeouts in 42 innings pitched. His efforts helped PCA finish 17-11, win the district championship and end a three-year playoff drought.

“I came over just to play and really liked it,” Busma said. “I liked all my teammates and we did good.”

Like Masterson, Busma will be a walk-on in college. He has an offer from Mississippi College.

Kirk, however, said there is no doubt Friday will be his last competitive baseball game.

A three-year starter at shortstop and pitcher, Kirk hit .370 with a team-high eight doubles and 22 RBIs this season. He’s also been one of the Eagles’ most reliable pitchers since he was a sophomore.

Kirk, though, got a taste of what college baseball might be like when he attended a showcase last summer and said it’s not something he wanted to pursue.

“I went there for a week and it was nothing but baseball. I realized it’s not what I wanted to do,” Kirk said. “I’m ready to go fish every day, and after this week I can.”

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 140-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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