Greenville nips PCA in final game of spring break tournament

Published 6:51 pm Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Porter’s Chapel Academy and Greenville packed a lot of highlights into four innings of baseball on Wednesday.

The teams combined for 19 runs, each batted around once, and they threw some late drama into the mix for good measure. When it was all over, Greenville left Sports Force Parks on the Mississippi with a 10-9 victory in the Battle on the River spring break tournament.

PCA fought back after trailing 10-5 heading into the bottom of the third inning to make a game of it, but left the winning run at second base in the fourth inning. The game was ended at that point because of the tournament’s 90-minute time limit.

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“It’s easy to quit and fold your tent when things aren’t going your way, but I like the fight. It shows we’ve got a little something in us,” PCA coach Wade Patrick said. “We’re just giving up way too many free runs to the other team. We’re making too many errors on the routine stuff. Against any team you can’t do that, and against a good team you really can’t. That’s what cost us today.”

Greenville (7-4) certainly got plenty of free runs. Three walks in the first inning led to a run, and errors in the second and third helped a couple of more rallies.

The Hornets also did plenty of their own work. TyMitchell McCullough hit an RBI triple and Adrian Coats a two-run double during a seven-run rally in the second inning. Aaron Coats also had an RBI triple in the third inning and scored on a single by Kameron Reed to put the Hornets ahead 10-5.

PCA pitcher Wade Dickard had seven strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings, but also allowed four walks and eight hits, and hit two batters — both of whom went on to score.

“We’ve got to make routine plays, and right now we’re not making enough of them,” Patrick said. “Some of that is we haven’t a lot of games, or even practice action. But everybody’s in that boat. It’s not an excuse. We’ve got to make those plays.”

The Eagles scored a lot of runs, too.

Cole Pittman belted a two-run home run in the second inning and finished 2-for-3 with three RBIs and two runs scored. Leon Simms hit a two-run single and scored a run, and Dickard and Josh Smith both scored two runs.

Two walks and an error set up an RBI single by Pittman that cut PCA’s deficit to 10-8 in the bottom of the third inning. The Eagles then caught a break. With the time limit closing in, Michael Tod Andrews grounded out to end the inning with less than a minute left on the clock.

By rule, any inning that starts with time left has to be played, so the Eagles in effect got another chance by ending the inning at that point.

PCA reliever Luke Yocum struck out the side in the top of the fourth and PCA used its reset to mount one last rally. Two hits and two walks set up a sacrifice fly by Josh Hunt that cut it to 10-9 with two outs, and put runners at second and third with the top of the order coming to the plate.

McCullough, however, struck out Smith to end the game.

“I told one of the guys down here that it might not be bad to run into an out here and start the new inning. It just worked out that we made an out on that play. Not that I wanted him to make an out, but it worked out for us because it gave us an opportunity,” Patrick said. “We got a quick 1-2-3 inning, got some momentum going, and we had base runners. We just didn’t get a timely hit. He made a couple of good pitches, and that’s baseball.”

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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