Tanner Allison drove in the winning runs and then picked up the save on the mound in Portland’s 5-4 win over Charlotte in a key Division 2 baseball matchup on Saturday.
The game was the final of a wooden-bat tournament which was part of Portland’s annual Spring Sports Carnival, and a possible postseason preview. The fifth-ranked Raiders and ninth-ranked Orioles could very well meet again, either in the Diamond Classic or the Division 2 district tournament, which Portland will host.
“That’s a ranked team, so to beat them in a close game is a good thing,” Portland coach John Davids said. “These are the fun games, we have a tough schedule coming up with Williamston on Monday and Grand Ledge next Saturday, so this is a big win.”
Charlotte jumped out to an early lead, scoring three runs without the benefit of a hit in the second inning, when Portland pitcher Clay Morris hit the first three batters he faced and then walked the next three.
“Clay’s a good pitcher for us, but he just didn’t have his stuff today,” Davids said. “It happens. He’s thrown well all year.”
Portland clawed back into the game with single runs in each of the next three innings. Bryant Pettit laid down a suicide squeeze bunt that brought home Andrew Click in the bottom of the second, Click plated Allison with a sacrifice fly in the third and Hayden Brandt scored on a single by Trevor Trierweiler in the fourth to tie the game at 3.
Alec Kushion gave Charlotte the lead back in the fifth when he reached base on a fielder’s choice, went to third on a Portland error and scored on a double steal with Austin Schwenson to make the score 4-3.
Portland took the lead for good in the bottom of the sixth when Tyler Schrauben and Trierweiler singled and then came home on Allison’s double into the right-center field gap.
“I’ve been struggling the last couple of games, so I just wanted to go up there with a positive mindset,” Allison said. “I just went up there and did my usual thing, relaxed and made good contact.”
Allison, who has signed to play baseball at Western Michigan and is Portland’s top pitcher, then took the mound in the seventh to close it out. He walked two batters, but stranded them both as the game ended on a strikeout-throw out double play.
Pettit picked up the win on the mound for the Raiders and Alec Trzeciak was the losing pitcher for the Orioles.
Charlotte assistant coach Frank Silvas, who filled in with head coach Bill Whitely away on family business, like what he saw despite the loss.
“Defensively, we played well,” Silvas said. “Trzeciak threw well, and he’s struggled all year long. He pitched a good game, Portland is a good-hitting team, so we’re pleased with the way he threw.
“We got a little peek at Allison, that’s what we hoped, he’d come in and be wild. I’m sure we’ll see him in the districts.”
Portland advanced to the tournament final with a 16-1 win over Waverly and Charlotte defeated Owosso 4-1 in the other semifinal.