WHITE HOUSE The Portland High School baseball team made White House pay for a series of miscues … for the second consecutive game.
The visiting Panthers took advantage of eight errors, six walks and five hit batsmen on Monday evening, capturing an 11-5 win over the Blue Devils.
“It’s a big deal,” Portland senior centerfielder Hunter Read said. “With White House, we always get more excited to play them and beat them.”
The two teams faced off just two days earlier, with White House committing seven errors in a 9-2 loss to the Panthers in an East Robertson Classic game played at East Robertson High School.
“What we did tonight is something we failed to do in the past,” Portland head coach Jimmy Parker said. “We have a resilient group of kids. If we get behind a bit, they don’t get down. We have guys playing out of position with (senior) Brice Snook out (injured), and we have guys stepping in and doing a good job.
“I’m proud of them. This is a tough place to play. It’s not easy to come from behind here and win.”
Errors led to the game’s first three runs, with Panther senior Kemper Dixon scoring in the first and third innings.
A fielding error helped Blue Devil junior Hunter Neumair to eventually score on a successful double steal in the bottom of the second.
Trailing 2-1, White House scored four runs in the bottom of the third.
Junior Jacob Abbott drew a bases-loaded walk, and senior Landon Sewell followed by successfully laying down a squeeze bunt.
Then, White House senior Cody Gentile came through with a two-out, two-run single that gave his squad a three-run advantage.
However, three walks, two errors and a hit batsmen helped Portland quickly retake the lead in the top of the fourth.
“We have a small margin for error,” Blue Devil head coach Seth Long – whose squad is currently playing without senior centerfielder Luke Hopkins due to a hand injury – said. “When we give extra outs and free bases, it will kill you.
“Guys who are getting varsity playing time who haven’t had a lot of playing time in the past have to learn quick. Wins and losses count, so they have to learn quick. It’s on us as a coaching staff to make sure they are prepared.”
After senior Austin Graves drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the fourth, classmate Nick Lingo singled to leftfield to place his squad in front to stay.
“Since White House has always been our rival, we get hyped playing them,” Read said. “We wanted to come back and beat them and keep our (winning) streak going.”
Lingo (2-1) went the distance on the mound, allowing just one hit and three baserunners over the final four innings. Lingo tossed a five-hitter, walked six hitters and struck out four.
Dixon scored for the fourth time when his sixth-inning pop-up fell between three fielders in shallow centerfield, resulting in a double. He scored on Graves’ third hit, a single through the left side of the infield.
Then, Read doubled to lead off the four-run seventh, an inning that included two walks, three hit batsmen and an error. Read scored on sophomore Logan Wilson’s groundout, and freshman Brandon Tucker, sophomore Dawson Simmons and junior Tristan Sutton crossed the plate later in the frame.
It was the third consecutive win for the Panthers.
“We’re more of a family than anything,” Read said. “We are all so close to each other. We’re a family. We stick together.”
Reach Craig Harris at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 615-575-7138. Follow him on Twitter @HarrisGNESports.
Portland 101 401 4 – 11 9 1
White House 014 000 0 – 5 5 8
Nick Lingo and Kemper Dixon; Ethan Escue, Dillon Draper (4), Tanner Pharris (6) and Cody Gentile. WP – Lingo (2-1). LP – Draper (0-1). Records: Portland 7-4, White House 3-5.