PCA beats Amite, waits to find out playoff fate

Published 12:24 am Saturday, April 23, 2016

Porters Chapel Academy did everything it needed to do in order to earn a spot in the playoffs. Now it’ll wait to find out if it was enough.

Leon Simms doubled twice, scored twice and drove in a run, and pitcher Kyle Guider allowed one run in a complete game victory as PCA beat Amite School Center 3-1 on Friday night.

The Eagles needed that win, as well as a loss by Wilkinson County Christian, to clinch the second and final berth from District 5-AA in the MAIS Class AA playoffs. Wilkinson County plays Franklin Academy on Saturday.

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“We had one slip away from us Tuesday. We backed ourselves into a corner with the way we played earlier in the year,” PCA coach Wade Patrick said. “We’ve got to keep our fingers crossed and hope Franklin can win tomorrow.”

PCA (8-8-1, 5-3 District 5-AA) blew a four-run lead earlier in the week to Amite (10-9, 8-2), or else it could have already clinched a playoff spot. It played well enough in the rematch, however, to at least keep its hopes alive for another day.

Simms delivered a pair of two-out doubles that led to runs. He scored on a single by Bailey McMillian in the first inning, and drove in Wade Dickard with his double in the fourth. Simms also led off the third inning by reaching on an error and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by McMillian to give him a hand in all three of PCA’s runs.

Simms’ big offensive night made up for a shaky defensive one. He committed three errors in left field, none of which led to runs.

“That’s unlike him out in the outfield. It happens. That’s the thing, is you have to overcome it. He swung the stick great. He’s a force at the plate, for sure,” Patrick said.

On the mound, Guider turned in one of his best starts of the year. The big right-hander struck out six, only walked one batter, and gave up three hits. Amite’s only run came in the top of the third inning, when Tyler Johnston led off with a single and eventually scored on a ground out by Calin Buckley.

Dacota McDaniel got a one-out single off of Guider in the seventh inning, then stole second and went to third. With the tying run at the plate, Guider got a ground out and then struck out Buckley to end the game.

“We fought through adversity. A lot of times, earlier in the year, we’d make an error and it would snowball on us. Tonight, we fought through it. We were helping each other out and we made the plays,” Patrick said. “Kyle pitched a great ballgame. You couldn’t have asked for anything better. He was pounding the strike zone, and when you’re doing that and throwing fast it keeps your defense in it and you make more plays.”

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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