(Photo by Brent Shipman, Staff)
EAST PRAIRIE -- With the pitching combination of Zac Treece and Jansen Darst holding East Prairie to only two hits on Thursday Portageville was able to take and early lead and hold on for a 8-1 win.
"We put the ball in play and that's good to see," Portageville assistant coach Ron Riddle said. "Our bats have started to come alive a bit. Zac Treece gave us five good innings and the defense played well behind him."
Though leadoff hitter Nathan Maynard kicked things off for the Eagles with solo home run in the bottom of the first East Prairie was held to only one hit through the rest of the contest.
That hit, a double by Ryan Mathis, came with two outs in the first with only one Eagle reaching base the rest of way.
"We hit the ball hard the first inning," East Prairie head coach Gary Scott said. "They made some good plays, then after the first inning our bats dropped off a little bit. When we did hit it hard they made some plays defensively to save some hits."
While the Eagles' offense stalled, Portageville's soared, rallying for seven runs in the first three innings.
Hunter Cook drove in the first run of the contest in the top of the first before a single by Hunter Jackson plated another to to put the Bulldogs up 3-0 entering the bottom of the first.
After a scoreless second, Portageville padded their lead with five-straight hits in the third frame as part of a four-run rally that pushed the Bulldogs ahead 7-1.
Ethan White plated the first two runs with a line drive to left field while a singe by Logan Chambliss scored a run from second base. Capping the rally was Myles Stafford getting hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
"That's always nice to see," Riddle said. "When you get a little bit of a cushion there it makes coaching a little bit easier."
Jackson singled in the top of the fifth to bring home Ben Story to make up the 8-1 final.
Picking up the win was Treece, who went five innings, surrendering one run on two hits while striking out six. Coming in to pitch the final two innings Jansen Darst struck out four Eagles and only gave up a walk.
"We just try to get ahead and throw strikes," Riddle said. "Falling behind is when we get in trouble. When they stay ahead our pitchers normally do a pretty good job."
In outhitting East Prairie 11-1 the Bulldogs were led by Cook and Jackson, who ended the game with three hits each. Cook had a pair of doubles, scored a run and drove in two with Jackson bringing home a pair of runs and scoring once.
Story went 2 for 3 and crossed the plate for three runs.
Coming in to spell starter Ryan Mathis, who took the loss, Zack Downing gave the Eagles a solid 4 2/3 innings in relief. He gave up one run on three hits and a walk while striking out four.
Downing's tough test came in the top of third when he entered the game with the bases loaded and one out. Striking out the first batter he faced before getting the next batter to fly out, Downing left the inning unscathed.
"He came in there and kept the game in reach for us," Scott said. "He did his job and we just couldn't get our bats going to get us back in the game. He came in and held them right there."
Portageville improves to 9-9 on the season while the Eagles drop to 10-5.
Portageville 403 010 0 - 8 11 1
East Prairie 100 000 0 - 1 2 4
WP -- Zac Treece. LP -- Ryan Mathis. Multiple hitters: (P) Hunter Cook 3-4, Ben Story 2-3, Hunter Jackson 3-4. 2B -- (P) Cook 2; (EP) Ryan Mathis. HR -- (EP) Nathan Maynard.