Portageville takes on Scott City in Class 3 district title game
CHARLESTON, Mo. -- A monster 11-run first inning propelled top-seeded Portageville 13-0 over fifth-seeded Kelly Monday in the semifinals of the Class 3, District 1 Tournament.
"Sometimes you just sit back and let it come to you," Bulldogs head coach Tyler Trover said. "It was nothing I did. These guys came focused and ready to hit. We hit some balls hard early and it snowballed for them a little bit from there. Anytime you can come out with an 11-run inning to start a game you feel pretty good about your chances."
Kelly came into the postseason having made the district title game in back-to-back seasons. They pulled off a mild upset Saturday, defeating fourth-seed East Prairie 4-2 to open the tournament.
Another trip to the title game vanished almost the moment they stepped on the field against Portageville when the first 11 Bulldog hitters scored.
Portageville opened the bottom of the first inning with two straight triples and finished the frame with eight hits while taking advantage of four walks.
Runs in both the second and third innings made up the final score.
"We just ran into a buzzsaw that first inning," Kelly head coach Justin McAlister said. "They can hit and we knew that. They were ready. We did get behind in the count. It seemed like every hitter was 1-0, 2-0, or 2-1. Against a good fastball hitting team like that you can't pitch behind in the count."
Hunter Gates led the Bulldogs' 10-hit effort, collecting two triples and four RBIs.
Nick Allred earned the win in relief of starter Bub Lance. Allred threw four shutout innings where he allowed two hits, walked four and struck out two.
Allred singled and drove in three runs at the plate to help his own cause.
"We started Lance and pulled him after the first to feel like we have both guys available (for the title game)", Trover said. "Allred came in and did exactly what he needed to do. He's not a big strikeout guy, but he's a strike thrower. The defense played well behind him and we just kept sitting on that lead and preserving it."
Though Kelly's season ends short of their third straight championship game, the Hawks (12-10) did notch their first winning record under McAlister, currently in his third year with the team.
That's a positive McAlister will bring in to the next few years when he expects to see a influx of young talent.
"I felt like this was a very important year for our program," McAlister said. "We graduated five really good seniors last year and we have some really good kids coming. Our seventh and eighth grade are pretty loaded. I knew we were young this year and had to bridge the gap and still be competitive.
"I looked at the schedule before the season and thought we might win five games. Kudos to this group, they just clicked. They found a chemistry and ran with it."
Portageville (18-7) played second-seeded Scott City Tuesday for the championship at Hillhouse Park in Charleston.
In their only meeting this year the Bulldogs won 13-1 while the Rams are coming off four straight district titles and back-to-back final four runs.
Kelly 000 00 - 0 2 1
Portageville (11)11 0x - 13 10 0
WP -- Nick Allred. LP -- Nathan Vicenzi. 3B -- Hunter Gates (P) 2, Ryan Priggel (P). 2B -- Mitchell Proctor (K), Kile Adams (P). Multiple hits -- Portageville: Adams 2-3, Gates 2-3, Priggel 2-2.