PCA’s district championship hopes end with doubleheader sweep

Published 12:30 am Saturday, April 13, 2024

Porter’s Chapel Academy needed two wins Friday to clinch a baseball district championship.

It would have settled for one to keep its chances alive.

It did not get any.

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The Eagles took a tough 2-1 loss in the first game of a doubleheader against Prairie View Academy, then watched their mistakes multiply and their district title hopes disappear with an 11-6 loss in game two.

Prairie View clinched the MAIS District 4-3A championship, while PCA will head into the postseason as the league’s No. 2 seed. The MAIS playoffs start on April 23. PCA (17-9, 8-3 District 4-3A) and Prairie View (20-4, 11-0) will finish the regular season against each other on April 18 in Bastrop, La.

“It was senior night, home game, we had a chance to bring a district championship back to Porter’s Chapel for, I think, the first time since 2013. We were sitting No. 2 and had a good chance of doing it, but we didn’t,” PCA coach Rob Riggin said. “Now we get to play them again next Thursday and it’s just playing for show when we should be playing for bragging rights. A split would have been good, but I came in wanting to win them both.”

Game one of the doubleheader was a pitchers’ duel between PCA’s John Wyatt Massey and Prairie View’s Hayden Little. Each went seven innings, as Massey finised with nine strikeouts and Little with 10.

The difference was the fourth inning, when two walks and an error set up a two-run single by Prairie View’s Nathan Wright that put the Spartans ahead 2-0.

PCA got a run back in the sixth when Massey doubled and scored on Thomas Azlin’s single, but that was all. It only had four hits in the 2-1 loss.

Game two also turned on a fourth-inning rally by Prairie View. The Spartans struck for six runs, including two on a two-out single by Jackson Gee that was lined just over the glove of PCA shortstop Taylor Labarre. The hit brought in two runs to make it 4-1, and Prairie View added to the lead with another two-run single by Landon Deville and an RBI double by Little.

The Spartans also scored three runs in the sixth inning.

“We did very well the first game, and then the wheels came off about midways through the second game,” Riggin said.

PCA clawed back a few runs as Azlin hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning and Massey a two-run shot in the sixth. Massey’s home run landed on the other side of the road beyond the right field wall.

The home runs were wallpaper on a largely ugly game for the Eagles, however. Their hitters struck out 12 times, their pitchers issued seven walks, and their fielders committed three errors that led to six unearned runs.

“We had 12 strikeouts, three errors, and too many free bases. We’re just not playing clean baseball. We should be this time of the year,” Riggin said. “Usually the hitting is the last thing to come and we should be there, and we’re just not doing it. I don’t know why. It’s all mental.”

Despite Friday’s bad day, Riggin was hopeful the Eagles could work through their issues before the playoffs begin.

“If we play our game right, we can beat them. It doesn’t matter who we play,” Riggin said. “That’s the main thing right there tonight. We didn’t play our games.”

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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