PORTAL — The Portal Panthers baseball squad battled the elements while also dealing with the fellow Panthers of Glascock County Monday evening.
In the end, Portal wasn’t able to overcome either.
Glascock County scored five times in the top of the second inning to build an early lead. Play was halted for about 30 minutes for a lightning delay and when the game resumed, Glascock withstood a Portal rally before tacking on some insurance.
Ultimately, heavy rains moved in just as the seventh inning began. The game was called early, giving Glascock a 9-4 victory in six innings.
“(The loss) didn’t have much to do with the weather,” Portal coach Dennis Moore said. “We both had to play in it and it was Glascock County that played very well.”
Moore added that the visiting Panthers (7-12) may have been playing with a chip on their shoulder. Portal waltzed into Gibson last week and handed Glascock an 11-0 loss, but the tables were turned on Portal’s home field.
Some of the early damage done to the Panthers was self-inflicted.
Kevin Fain — who earned the win coming on in relief – reached on an error by Portal starter Landon Stephens to begin the second inning. Portal recorded the frame’s first out on a fielder’s choice, but another error loaded the bases.
A third error occurred when Hector Diaz couldn’t handle a Nick Tyler line drive to center, bringing home the game’s first run.
Patrick Kelly and Colby Johnson each knocked in runs with infield singles and Tyler scored on a passed ball. Luke Deraney capped the rally with an RBI groundout to give Glascock a 5-0 advantage.
Portal rallied in the bottom half of the inning. Hector Diaz singled while Edgar Diaz drew a walk and Parker Parrish was hit by a pitch, chasing Glascock starter Daniel Rabun from the game.
Stephens helped his own cause with a two-run single to right field, but Fain worked through any further trouble to strand two Portal runners and keep the Glascock lead at 5-2.
Portal missed another golden opportunity to get back into the game in the fifth inning. Trailing 6-2, Austin Brack hit a fly ball to left that couldn’t be corralled by Trevor Palmer. The error scored a run at put Portal runners on second and third with one out, but Fain again stopped the bleeding.
“We had our opportunities,” Moore said. “I thought we had good at-bats and put good swings on the ball, but we didn’t capitalize when we really needed to. A few more timely hits, and we’d have been right in the game.”
Fain continued to torment Portal with a two-out RBI double to center in the sixth inning. Portal then hurt its own cause again as a potential inning-ending grounder turned into a two-run throwing error by Brack.
Portal couldn’t muster another comeback attempt in its half of the sixth and Mother Nature decided to end things early as the seventh got underway.
Portal will try to bounce back today as they travel to Wheeler County for a Region 3-A matchup.
Mike Anthony may be reached at (912) 489-9408.