Palmer powers Tallulah Academy to doubleheader sweep of PCA

Published 9:39 pm Monday, March 11, 2024

Spring break week started with a party for Tallulah Academy and a bummer of a day for Porter’s Chapel Academy.

Gage Palmer went 2-for-4 with a home run and three RBIs against his former team, and Tallulah scored six runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat PCA 12-10 in the first game of a baseball doubleheader on Monday.

In game two, Palmer hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning to finish an 11-0 run-rule victory that completed the Trojans’ sweep.

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Porter’s Chapel (10-4) had a nine-game winning streak snapped. Its day started well enough, as it raced out to a 6-0 lead through three innings of game one.

Conley Johnston and Thomas Azlin both had RBI singles during the early surge. Azlin finished 2-for-5 with three RBIs, John Wyatt Massey was 2-for-4 with three runs scored, and Taylor Labarre walked twice and scored three runs for the Eagles.

Palmer’s two-run home run in the fourth inning started Tallulah’s comeback, however. Logan Hallmen, Denton Ray and Luke Moberley each added RBI singles in the inning as the Trojans tied it at 6.

In the bottom of the sixth inning, Hayes Hopkins was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to break the tie and open the floodgates for another six-run burst. Palmer followed with an RBI single, and the Trojans scored four more times to go up 12-6.

Massey doubled in a run and scored on a single by Azlin, who in turn scored on a single by Brayden King, as PCA cut it to 12-10 with a two-out rally in the top of the seventh inning. J.T. McDaniel struck out Johnston swinging to end the game, however.

McDaniel earned his second save of the season by getting the one out, and then pitched a gem as the game two starter. He allowed one hit and three walks, and struck out seven batters in five innings in Tallulah’s 11-0 victory.

McDaniel also singled, walked three times, drove in one run and scored three.

McDaniel pitched a seven-inning no-hitter in his previous outing and has 50 strikeouts in 30 innings pitched this season.

Tripp Gayle was 2-for-2 with two runs scored for Tallulah (9-4), while Cade Morgan and Brayson Morson had two RBIs each. Palmer’s grand slam capped an eight-run rally in the fifth inning that ended the game via the mercy rule.

Tallulah Academy will be off the rest of the week and host Tri-County on March 18. Monday’s doubleheader was just the start of a busy week for PCA, though.

The Eagles are off on Tuesday, then head to the Coast for the ninth annual Battle at the Beach tournament. They’ll face Marshall Academy on Wednesday at 12:30 p.m. and Presbyterian Christian on Thursday at 5 p.m. Both games are at Gulfport High School.

The Battle at the Beach is a massive 10-day event that includes nearly 70 teams — including Porter’s Chapel and Warren Central — from six states, playing at 10 different venues on the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

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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