Shattered bulb doesn’t keep PCA from lighting it up

Published 11:09 am Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Porter’s Chapel Academy hasn’t been able to light it up this week as much as it’d like. But it is winning.

Gage Palmer racked up 12 strikeouts in 6 2/3 innings pitched, and Porter’s Chapel took advantage of five errors to defeat Adams County Christian School 6-4 on Tuesday.

PCA (2-2) won despite getting only one hit — a two-run single by Taylor Labarre in the fifth inning.

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“They put the bat on the ball, and I tell them if you do that good things are going to happen,” PCA coach Paul Ashley said. “That pitcher had a really good breaking ball that kept us off-balance almost all night. We came off seeing 80-82 mph last night and seeing 60 tonight and it had our timing all off.”

For the second game in a row, PCA was plagued by a bizarre incident involving its lighting system at Pierce Field.

On Monday, during a game against Park Place Christian Academy, a transformer exploded and knocked out all of the field’s lights. The game was halted in the third inning with PCA leading 7-1, and it’s uncertain if it will be resumed. PCA and Park Place play again Thursday in Flowood.

Then, on Tuesday, ACCS’ Tristen Burns hit a foul ball in the first inning that shattered a light bulb above home plate. Glass rained down over the area between home plate and the first base dugout, but no one was hurt.
The game was delayed, briefly, while PCA’s coaches and staff cleaned up the pieces.

“The baseball gods are just not with us, I don’t think,” Ashley said with a laugh.

Maybe not when it comes to lights, but certainly when fortunate bounces are involved.

ACCS pitcher Crews Marchbanks retired 10 of the first 12 batters he faced and totaled six strikeouts in four innings. Things turned south for he and the Rebels in the fifth, however. A leadoff walk was followed by an error, and two batters later Labarre hit a bloop single to left to bring in the Eagles’ first two runs.

ACCS left fielder Samuel Merritt dove for the ball but wasn’t able to come up with it. Labarre was then balked to second base and scored on another odd play. Lawson Selby, who had walked, was caught off of second base on an infield hit by Chase Hearn. While ACCS’ infielders were chasing Selby back, Labarre alertly hustled home to score and tie the game at 3.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, two dropped fly balls by ACCS — as well as another balk, a walk and two wild pitches — led to three more runs for PCA. All of them were scored with two outs.

“Being a young team that’s what we have to do, is just the small things — take advantage of other teams’ mistakes. I think we did that tonight, because we didn’t play our best game,” Ashley said.

ACCS got a run back on an RBI double by Burns to cut it to 6-4, but that was as close as it got. Palmer struck out Colton Rabb for the second out of the inning and then was relieved by Labarre, who got Marchbanks to ground to shorstop for the final out.

PCA won its second game in a row, not counting the incomplete game against Park Place. All five of its games have been against Class 5A schools in either the MAIS or MHSAA.

“I’m happy with it. We’ve come around,” Ashley said. “I think playing these bigger schools is going to help us when we get into district. Our kids are really coming together and things are looking a lot better.”

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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