State-ranked Portageville routs Bernie 10-0

Thursday, March 29, 2018
Bernie's Wyatt Barnett steals second base Friday, as Portageville shortstop Bub Lance fields a late throw during the third inning in Portageville. -DEXTER STATESMAN/Kyle Smith)

PORTAGEVILLE -- The Bernie Mules failed to capitalize on early scoring opportunities Friday, and state-ranked Portageville cashed in late to win 10-0 at Meatte Park.

The Mules, who were playing their first game of the season, left the bases loaded in the first inning and stranded 10 runners overall against the seventh-ranked team in the Class 3 coaches poll.

"You go out there and start the season and score a couple there and put pressure on them instead of them putting pressure on us early," Bernie coach Marcus Massey said. "It could've been a totally different game. But unfortunately, we didn't get them across. When they got a chance, they did."

The Bulldogs (4-0) broke through with two runs in the third, five in the fourth and three in the sixth to end the game early on the 10-run mercy rule.

Bernie committed four errors in the final four innings.

"We keyed on some of their mistakes," Portageville coach Tyler Trover said. "We finally broke through a little bit with our approach -- hitting the ball hard -- toward the middle innings."

Kile Adams opened the third with a bunt single and scored on Jared Crafton's fielder's choice to break the scoreless tie. Connar Barham drew a walk and scored on an error.

Gavin Brown replaced starter Nate Dillinger in the fourth inning and was rocked for five runs on five hits.

The Mules committed two errors in the fourth.

Barham drove home a run on a ground out to shortstop. Hunter Gates, who went 3 for 4 with two RBIs, and Crafton had run-scoring singles, and Bub Lance doubled home a run. Courtesy runner Jayden Milam scored on an error.

Brown pitched around a one-out single in a scoreless fifth, but the Bulldogs scored three runs on four hits against Weston Zoll in the sixth.

Barham reached base on a error. Gates doubled him home, Lance drove in Gates with a single, and Sam Riggs singled home the game-ending run.

Bailey Cook picked up the win, permitting five hits with seven strikeouts and five walks in 5 1-3 scoreless innings.

Three of those walks came in the first inning where Weston Comstock drew a one-out walk, and Brown and Dillinger drew walks with two outs.

However, Cook struck out Josh Vaughn to end the inning.

"He's nowhere near one of our harder throwers, but he's a pitcher," Trover said. "He knows how to pitch. He was able to get some breaking balls over in 2-0 counts, 1-0 counts, in fastball-predictable counts and pitch backward and kind of keep them off balance."

Portageville threatened early, too, but Dillinger escaped trouble with a first-inning double play and solid defense behind him.

"The first two innings, we kind of got through with not a lot of mistakes," Massey said. "Then the wheels kind of came off after that. We've had a few injuries and things like that. That's kind of got new kids out on the field in spots where they didn't play in the fall or in previous seasons."

Dillinger, who was charged the loss, allowed two runs -- one earned -- on two hits with three walks and no strikeouts in two innings.

Adams, Crafton, Lance and Riggs had two hits each as part of Portageville's 12-hit attack.

Five different Bernie players had one hit.