BENTON -- Kent Deason pitched a gem in his first start of the season as Kelly defeated Portageville 2-0 on Tuesday.
Deason, displaying pinpoint control, tossed a perfect game. While facing the minimum of 21 batters, he induced 13 groundball outs and struck out two.
"I've never thrown a perfect game or a no-hitter," said Deason. "I've got to give a lot of credit to the defense. The outfield, middle infield and third base made some real good plays behind me."
Said Kelly coach Cory Johnson, "Before the game, we talked about working ahead (in the pitch count) and letting the defense work for you."
Kelly's flawless defensive effort came on the heels of a six-error game -- their only errors of the season -- against Clearwater on Friday. Clearwater, the No. 1-ranked team in Class 2, whipped Kelly 10-0.
"We had a poor effort, offensively and defensively, against Clearwater," said Johnson, "so it was nice to bounce back against a solid team like Portageville, which has had some good wins this year."
Kelly (4-2) scored single unearned runs in the fourth and sixth innings.
In the fourth, the Hawks' Danny Wilson reached on an infield single, advanced to second on an errant pickoff throw, then scampered home on a two-base throwing error on a bunt attempt by Dallas Tew.
Kelly manufactured an insurance run in the sixth when Wilson again legged out an infield single, stole second and scored following another wild pickoff attempt.
The Hawks managed four groundball hits -- three never left the infield -- against Portageville starter Andrew Deere, who struck out six and walked two in six innings. Deere hurt himself with three throwing errors on pickoff moves.
"Our pitcher (Deere) threw really well today, but they put a few balls in play, tried to make something happen and we helped 'em," said Portageville coach Lee Wallace. "I credit their coach for that. We didn't execute and he made us throw it around."
Added Wallace, "Their pitcher threw strikes. He didn't overpower us, but he pitched."
Still Wallace found some solace in his team's performance.
He said, "This is the best we've hit the ball this season and we don't have a hit to show for it, but I'm pleased with the way we swung the bats. That's about as good as I've ever felt about getting no-hit and beat."
Portageville (5-7), which has two one-run and two two-run losses this season, also lost to Mother Nature.
In the second inning, two Bulldogs, Casey Ash and Josh Rhoades, hit towering drives to left field that were held up by a strong wind.
"They would have been out of here…there's no question," said Johnson. "But that's what we have here, a home-field advantage, and we know that on most days the wind is blowing straight in and fly balls are going to hang up. As soon as they're hit, we know not to give up on anything because we'll probably have an opportunity to make a play on them."
Kelly, on a three games in three days schedule, hosts Cape Central on Wednesday at 4 p.m., then travels to Cape Notre Dame on Thursday at 4.
Portageville visits Hayti on Thursday at 4 prior to opening the Bootheel Conference Tournament on Monday at Kennett.