Season ends for Portageville baseball after dropping Class 3 quarterfinal to West County
PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. -- Just one win from securing a spot in their first-ever Class 3 final four, Portageville's historic playoff run came to an end Wednesday afternoon in the quarterfinals against West County.
Portageville's once hot offense met its match against a pair of West County sophomore hurlers that held the Bulldogs to just four hits during a 15-3 mercy-rule win that propelled West County to the semifinals.
"That's the cruelty of this game sometimes," Portageville coach Tyler Trover said. "We were so hot during districts and we kind of cooled off at the wrong time. You hope you stay hot, but it doesn't always happen that way.
"We'd loved to have had a couple more bullets in the chamber, but just didn't have them for us today."
Much of the credit for Portageville's cool down on offense goes to West County's pitching duo of Hayden Roney and Zach Francis.
After Portageville averaged 10 runs a game through the playoffs, West County didn't surrender a run until they plated 10 themselves.
Roney, who got the start, held Portageville to just one hit through the first three innings before fighting out of trouble in both the fourth and fifth frames.
He allowed two runs to put Portageville on the board in the fourth, 10-2, then loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth. A walk forced in a run before Roney was pulled for Francis, who got out of the jam with a fly out to right field.
Francis pitched a scoreless bottom of the sixth to protect a 10-run lead and close out the game.
Roney earned the win with 4 2/3 innings of work, allowing three runs on four hits while walking four and striking out four. Francis didn't surrender a hit or run with his only baserunner coming on an error in the seventh.
"Our two sophomores on the bump was the key," West County coach John Simily said. "Roney is pitching on one day's rest. He started the game and threw 40 pitches on Monday, then we felt good about giving him the ball again today. Zach came in at the end and I knew he'd throw strikes. Those two kids are competitors and I'm very proud of them."
Roney and Francis' efforts was much needed after West County (17-3-1) recently lost two of its top pitchers to injuries.
Much like Portageville (20-8), West County came into the quarterfinals with a reputation for their hot bats, scoring 32 total runs in their three previous games.
Their two runs in the top of the first inning left Portageville trailing for the first time this postseason and they tacked on three more in the third for an early 5-0 advantage.
A grand slam from Jared Jones highlighted a five-run fourth frame for West County and represented the first two times they batted around the order in the game.
"We left one up and it happened to be one of their better hitters," Trover said. "He hit it hard. Kudos to them. They're well coached and have won a lot of district championships. They've been here a lot of times, maybe not in recent history, but they've been here.
"They were a team that was seasoned and looked like they were prepared to go out there and battle."
Trailing 10-0, Portageville's two runs in the bottom of the fourth saved them temporarily from a mercy-rule defeat and another run in the fifth closed the gap to seven, 10-3.
A second five-run outburst by West County in the sixth, however, reestablished the 10-run advantage that allowed the visiting team to end the game early.
Outhitting Portageville 14-4, Wayne County was led by leadoff hitter Matt Momot, who went 3 for 3 with two walks to reach in all five appearances.
Jones, Tate Roberts and Joey Steinmetz collected two hits each and Ty Simily provided a solo home run in the sixth, right before a brief 25-minute rain delay halted action.
Bub Lance and Kile Adams each doubled for Portageville with Nick Allred and Bailey Cook each hitting a single. Connor Barham, Lance and Cook drove in a run apiece.
"Regardless of what the score is or what happened today these kids have made incredible memories that will last a lifetime," Trover said. "A historic season, 20 wins and a district championship. I couldn't have fathomed this district championship in my first year here. It was the first trip to quarters in the history of our program.
"It's just a special, special group."
West County will take on Valley Park next Wednesday in a Class 3 semifinal at CarShield Field in O'Fallon, Mo.
West County 203 505 - 15 14 2
Portageville 000 210 - 3 4 1
WP -- Hayden Roney. LP -- Nick Allred. HR -- Jared Jones (W), Ty Simily (W). 2B -- Bub Lance. (P), Kile Adams (P). Multiple hits: Wayne County -- Matt Momot 3-3, Jared Jones 2-5, Tate Roberts 2-3, Joey Steinmetz 2-4.