By Scott Vanscoy
The Blue Eye Bulldogs rallied for two runs in the top of the seventh to defeat the Sparta Trojans, 3-2, on Tuesday night. Blue Eye relied on the strong pitching performance of senior Jacob Porter, who struck out 14 Trojan hitters. Porter allowed Sparta six hits, walked no one, and gave up no earned runs.
“My stuff was working a lot better than it was last week when we played Spokane,” said Porter. “My curve ball probably worked the best out of all of my pitches. I kind of used my changeup a little bit on the one, two, and three hitters. They were out front and fouled it off and it gave me enough room to throw a curve ball and kind of fool them.”
Blue Eye started the game off strong in the first inning by loading the bases with no outs, but senior Pedro Asebedo shut down Blue Eye and did not allow a run to score. With momentum on their side, Sparta scored a run in the first inning on a double by Matthew Bliss. Blue Eye scored their first run of the game when Jacob Crouthamel crossed the plate in the top of the third. Sparta answered with a run of their own in the bottom of the third, giving them a 2-1 lead. They held this lead until the seventh inning.
With Porter on cruise control, Blue Eye desperately tried to plate another run but could not do it, leaving eight runners on base.
“We kind of gave that one away in the first inning; we didn’t put any pressure on the defense,” said Blue Eye coach Dustin Ewers. “We’ve got to find a way to scratch a run, bottom line. You kind of feel that was a big momentum boost for Sparta and they did a fantastic job of keeping the pressure on us.”
Blue Eye’s top of the order had several base runners but could not score until the seventh inning when Crouthamel led the inning with a single. The next two Bulldog hitters made outs, putting the pressure on senior Weston Parton. Parton roped a double over the outfielders’ head, tying the game at two. With Parton standing on second, sophomore Chase McClenathan came to the plate. McClenathan had struck out three times previous and was glad to see Asebedo leave the game. With two outs, McClenathan laced a single and Parton scored the game winning run.
“I was thinking that I had to calm down and just level my head, come with a good approach to the plate,” said McClenathan. “It was a fastball and I was thinking that I needed to put it into play. I hadn’t all night. It felt pretty good. I feel good that we won even though I felt that we could have played a lot better.”
Porter then finished the game but not without Sparta trying to tie it back up. Asebedo hit a two out double, putting the tying run on second base. Porter got the final Trojan hitter to watch strike three, giving him 14 strikeouts for the game and the win.
“Porter did a fantastic job, he ended up with 14 strikeouts,” said Ewers. “He kept us in the ball game and he gave up no earned runs. Our defense let us down a little bit but as a whole our team was able to stay in it. We left 8 guys on base, we were just one swing away from busting the game open. We were fortunate to have Weston Parton step up in the seventh and have a big hit for us, then Chase follow it up. We haven’t come back like that in a game this year so it was a good win to be able to do that and stay in the ballgame. I was proud of the guys for staying in it, fighting, and not just rolling over.”
Blue Eye 3 Sparta 2
Blue Eye 001 000 2 — 3
Sparta 101 000 0 — 2