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SCD baseball tops Portal

    PORTAL — Savannah Country Day got a complete game out of starter William King (1-1) and used a two-out, four-run, sixth-inning rally to knock off the Portal Panthers (1-5, 0-2 Region 3-A) 8-3 Thursday in region play.
    Clinging to a one-run lead, the Hornets (3-3, 1-1) broke things open in the top of the sixth, plating four runners to go on top 6-1.
    With a runner on first and two down, Joe Hall lined an RBI single to the right-center gap that scored third baseman Anderson Kemp. Hall tripped when going for the double but made it safely back to first.
    A John Moesh walk then put runners on first and second, and an RBI by Travis Jaudon scored courteousy runner Bryan Twibell. A Travis Jaudon RBI single and a wild pitch scored the final two SCD runs of the inning.
    The Panthers’ starter, sophomore Chad Busby, had been pulled after finishing the fifth allowing only two runs in the span. He had gotten out of jams with runners in scoring position in the second, fourth and fifth, and Savannah Country Day stranded two in the two-run third.
    “I thought he was laboring — was getting tired,” said Portal coach Tendai Haggins. “He was up around 80 pitches, so I made a little change right there. … He threw strikes most of the time, (put a few batters on), but you expect that out of a sophomore.”
    The Panthers answered the four-run Hornet sixth with a display of power in the bottom of the inning.
    With one out and nobody on, PHS left fielder David Dampier crushed his first-career home run over the left field fence. On the very next pitch, shortstop Brett Rivers lined another one to deep center that cleared the fence by four feet, but Hornet centerfielder Ben Watson stole it away with a leaping catch for the second out of the inning.
    Derek Finch responded by knocking out a 1-0 pitch on the next at-bat, cutting the SCD lead to 6-3. King then got out of the inning, recording the third out on his second strikeout of the night.
    The Rivers’ lineout to center helped quiet the Panther bats from that point on.
    “I think it killed (the momentum) there a little bit,” said Haggins. “We could have had three home runs back-to-back-to-back — gave the kids a little boost. We could have had some more batters up, and we could have had the meat of the lineup again in the seventh.
    “Give credit to Country Day. King threw strikes, and they just out-hit us.”
    King finished off Portal with a 1-2-3 seventh.
    “(King) had a complete game and he only threw (82) pitches — no walks,” said Hornet coach Dan Garofano. “He had a shaky sixth, but then he struck out three out of the last for batters. That’s what I wanted to see. I wanted to see him finish a game strong, and he did. He impressed me tonight. He pitched great.”
    The Panthers look to bounce back with a region matchup at Claxton Tuesday at 5 p.m.

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