Huge first inning lifts Portageville baseball team past Scott City for district title
CHARLESTON, Mo. -- No team this postseason knows how to start a game quite like the Portageville Bulldogs.
After putting up 11 first-inning runs against Kelly in the Class 3, District 1 semifinals, Portageville one-upped themselves with a 12-run opening frame against Scott City in Tuesday's championship game.
The outburst over the second-seeded Rams allowed the top-seeded Bulldogs to cruise to a 13-0 win in five innings to give Portageville it's first district title since 2014.
"I've honestly never been a part of that and it might not ever happen again," Bulldogs' head coach Tyler Trover said of the early run support. "But we'll take it this year. We'll definitely take it."
Portageville's win ends the Rams' four year run as district champions that included back-to-back final four runs the past two seasons.
In their two games so far this postseason, the Bulldogs have out-scored the opposition 26-0 for two mercy-rule decisions.
Ian Torrey was Portageville's MVP, throwing a complete-game shutout while also doubling and hitting a three-run home run during his team's monster first inning.
Offensively he reached safely in 3 of 4 plate appearances, scoring twice and driving in three runs, all off his homer.
Torrey allowed only four hits on the mound and struck out two. He also walked and hit a batter.
"We're a confident team and we hit the ball pretty well," Torrey said. "We came out and played our best as hard as we could and came out on top. I felt great on the mound. Everything was working for me. I had confidence in my defense behind me and I knew we could do it."
Tuesday's title game almost had a decidedly different feel to it when Torrey got into his only jam of the night.
After a pair of ground outs opened the top of the first inning, Scott City (20-6) took advantage of Braden Cox getting hit to load the bases two hitters later.
Before any damage could be done, Torrey caught the next batter looking on a called third strike to end the threat.
Portageville (19-7) wouldn't have the same problem with their first nine hitters of the night reaching base before the Rams recorded an out.
"Portageville came out and just hit the heck out of the ball," Scott City head coach Jim May said. "We had bases loaded in the first inning and couldn't scratch one across. They came out and just started pounding. It got away from us early."
Nick Allred ignited the rally, hitting a triple with runners on second and third to put the Bulldogs on the board. Allred came home on the same play when he was awarded an extra base on an overthrow to third, making it 3-0.
Hunter Gates brought in another two runs later in the inning with a bases-loaded single and Allred followed up by doubling in his third RBI of the inning.
A three-run blast from Torrey over the left field fence highlighted and capped an inning that left Portageville firmly in the driver's seat, 12-0.
By the end of the barrage, the Bulldogs collected eights hits total, four for extra bases, while taking advantage of two hit batters and a walk.
"We had a great bases loaded strikeout in the first to give the momentum back to us," Trover said. "We came out from there in the bottom of the first and we did exactly what we needed to do. Squared the ball up hard. We had some luck in there, but at the same time we hit some balls really well."
Portageville added one more run in the second inning, one on a Gates double, to make up the 13-0 final.
The double was Gates' third hit of the game, finishing 3 for 4 at the plate with three RBI and two runs scored.
Allred was just a home run short of hitting for the cycle. He was also hit by a pitch to reach in all four appearances, scoring twice.
Torrey and Kile Adams both had two hits, both of Torrey's going for extra-bases, to give Portageville four players with multi-hit efforts.
For Scott City, who was outhit 12-4, Cox tripled and was hit by a pitch to reach base twice. Ty Wilthong, Dakota Talley and Brittan Jones all singled. In just his first year leading the program after previously coaching Bloomfield, Trover credits former head coach Lee Wallace, who is still with the team as an assistant coach, with making this year so successful.
It was Wallace who guided Portageville to their last district title in 2014.
"I can't ask for a better man to help through this transition than coach Wallace," Trover said. "He works on the field and with our hitters. He's implemented a pitching program that's been unbelievable for us. He's helped me in ways I can't explain and I'm so thankful for him."
Portageville will now face Twin Rivers in a Class 3 sectional matchup Monday at 4 p.m. The location has yet to be decided.
Twin Rivers comes in to the state tournament having defeated Malden 12-6 for the District 2 championship.
Scott City 000 00 - 0 4 2
Portageville (12)10 0x - 13 12 0
WP -- Ian Torrey. LP -- Bryan McNeely. HR -- Ian Torrey (P). 3B -- Braden Cox (S), Nick Allred (P). 2B -- Hunter Gates (P), Allred (P), Torrey (P). Multiple hiters -- Portageville: Gates 3-4, Allred 3-3, Torrey 2-3, Kile Adams 2-3.