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Mock, Portal shut down Tattnall County
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    BROOKLET — Brandon Mock pitched a complete-game two-hit shutout and Tagg Lanier went 4-for-4 with a triple, a double and three runs scored as the Portal Panthers topped the Tattnall County Battle Creek Warriors 9-0 on the final day of the SEB Yellow Jacket baseball tournament.
    After falling in the first game of the doubleheader to West Laurens 16-4, Mock took the mound and pitched the whole way in what was a defensive battle for much of the game. Mock struck out the first two batters he faced in the top of the first, and the Panthers set down the Warriors 1-2-3 for the first of four times in the contest before getting on the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning.
    Lanier scored after his first-inning triple when a grounder by Brett Rivers was thrown past TCHS first baseman Justin Flower, and Rivers advanced to second base.
    The score remained 1-0 in favor of Portal until the bottom of the third inning. Lanier doubled, but hurt his leg on the approach to second base. Although he would return in the next inning, pinch runner Nick Boggs was put in as a replacement. After a passed ball got Boggs to third, he scored on an RBI single by Rivers. Lanier later returned to the game at third base.
    Mock recorded his fifth strikeout in the top of the fourth, and PHS was able to add to its lead in the bottom of the inning, taking a 3-0 advantage into the top of the fifth. Mock’s shutout was saved in the fifth by center fielder Mickey Williams — when with a runner on third and two out — Williams made a nice catch in center field to get the Panthers out of the inning unscathed.
    Portal then exploded offensively adding two more runs in the bottom of the fifth and four in the sixth. Lanier capitalized after he stole third base when a Lucas Canady error allowed him to score, and Rivers would follow him home, also scoring on an error.     
    In the sixth, Rivers started the scoring with an RBI single. Both Vinnie Lynn and Cody Cowart walked in runs with the bases loaded, and Rivers scored on a TCHS error.
    Mock finished off the Warriors with a 1-2-3 inning in the top of the seventh. He would finish the complete-game shutout with six strikeouts, two hits, and only three walks to his credit.
    “(Mock) wasn’t very comfortable (in Monday’s game against Southeast Bulloch),” said Portal coach Tendai Haggins. “He said he felt good today. He threw strikes, got ahead of batters, and only had two or three walks. Going seven innings with only two or three walks — I’ll take that.”
    As for the shaky performance in the first game of the doubleheader against West Laurens, coach Haggins was pleased with the way his team bounced back.
    “We just didn’t play well,” said the Panther coach. “Things weren’t going right from the start… We had more errors than we had hits. I just told them that we need to come out and play Portal baseball. That was embarrassing. (Everybody on the team) has experience and we should play a lot better than we did that first game. I just challenged them there. That was all I said, and I walked away.”
    Portal returns to the diamond on Wednesday when they travel to Metter to take on the Tigers at 5:30 p.m.

    Matt Yogus can be reached at (912) 489-9404.