WCCA claims playoff wild card spot

Published 12:44 am Sunday, April 20, 2008

RAYMOND — Wilkinson County Christian Academy apparently didn’t seem to mind having to wait an extra day to play both of its games at the MPSA Class A South State Wild Card Round-Robin Tournament.

The Rams won their games Saturday at Central Hinds Academy, first defeating Wayne Academy in convincing fashion 10-3 to knock the Jaguars out of a possible wild-card berth and then holding on for a 6-5 win over the University Christian School Flames 6-5 in 10 innings.

The win over University Christian gave WCCA (19-9) the South Wild Card No. 1 seed. The Rams will take on District 6-A champion Glenbrook in the first round. Game 1 of the best-of-three series will start on Tuesday at a time to be determined.

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“We’re extremely excited,” WCCA head coach Ray Olive said. “We’ve had to come into the playoffs through the back door.”

Sutton Olive pitched all 10 innings for the Rams, allowing five runs on eight hits. But it was in the bottom of the sixth inning that Olive nearly gave the game away.

“We played excellent defense until the sixth. Sutton got a little rattled on the mound. He had a balk called. That was my fault,” WCCA head coach Ray Olive said. “They got a run off the balk and they hit a home run to tie it up.”

But Sutton Olive settled down from the seventh inning on, allowing just one run and that was after the Rams scored two runs in the top of the 10th when Joseph Harvey hit a bloop single that scored Brennan Bush and George Davis. And that was after the Flames made a pair of costly errors.

Davis and Lane McCarty each went 2-for-5 and Brandon Simon hit a home run for WCCA.

“Both teams were unwilling to give up the game. Each of us had scoring opportunities,” Olive said.

In the bottom of the 10th, Sutton got the first two batters out. Knowing he had a two-run lead to work with, Sutton gave up a solo home run to losing pitcher Chappele, who went 3-for-5. Then he got the final out to end the game.

University Christian’s starting pitcher went nine-plus innings before being relieved — which proved to be costly.

In WCCA’s first game of the day, the Rams kept the pressure on Wayne Academy by putting the ball in play and moving runners over. That forced the Jaguars to make eight errors.

“We hit the ball well. We put the pressure on their defense,” Olive said. “We forced them into errors, which transpired into runs for us. We had a couple of big innings where we batted around. We were pretty much in control of it.”

The Rams scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth inning to take a 7-1 lead and capped the game off with three more runs in the bottom of the sixth to make it the score 10-3, which ended up being the final score.

Hayden Whetstone allowed three runs in five innings to pick up the win and Simon pitched two innings of scoreless ball to close the game out.

At the plate, Simon was 3-for-3 and Davis went 2-for-4 with both hits going for triples.

Wayne Academy was led by Chandler, who was 3-for-4 with a solo home run in the top of the first inning.