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Panthers pull out win in extra innings
Portal's Keegan McCoy, left sneaks off of third as Montgomery County third baseman Gavin Fennell fields a bunt by Blaise Murphy during the first inning Tuesday.

    PORTAL — In a game that saw an 8-6-5-3-6 triple play, a 7-2 double play, plenty of errors and baserunning blunders the Portal Panthers managed to be the last team standing as they knocked off Montgomery County 5-4 in eight innings Tuesday evening.

    Fittingly, the game-winning run came on a two-base error to seal the deal for Portal.

    In the bottom of the eighth, Keegan McCoy led off with a walk. McCoy advanced to second after nearly getting picked off, escaping from a rundown and advancing to second on a throwing error.

    It was the next throw into center that helped him score. Montgomery County catcher Darrin Truett tried to pick off McCoy at second and threw the ball high into center field. McCoy took off for third. The throw from centerfielder Kelvin Williams sailed into the Eagle dugout and McCoy trotted home for the win.

    “That was a wild one,” said Portal coach Dennis Moore. “I can honestly say I felt like I saw it all tonight. I’ve never seen an RBI on a triple play, that was a first. It was our typical kind of game especially lately. We had our ups and downs, but we hung in there and were able to pull out the win."

    Both teams left the bases loaded late in the game. The Panthers loaded the bases in the seventh and were unable to push the winning run across. The Eagles had the bases loaded in the top of the eighth, and pitcher Tyler Hagan was able to work his way out of the jam without allowing a run.

    The Eagles started the scoring in the first. A pair of Portal errors put runners on second and third for Gavin Fennell who singled to left bringing Peyton Page home, and giving Montgomery County a 1-0 lead.

    Portal loaded the bases in their half of the inning, and set the stage for an unusual play. With no out, McCoy drove a pitch to the fence in center, where it was caught by Williams. Fisher Oglesby tagged from third and scored. Hagan attempted to tag and advance to third, but a nice relay throw nailed him at third for out number two.

    The Eagles then tried to get Blaise Murphy at first, but the throw sailed high, and Murphy attempted to advance to second, but a good throw from Brandon Weeks would beat Murphy to second, and the rare 8-6-5-3-6 triple play was in the books.

    The Panthers managed to take the lead in the third. With the bases loaded Blaise Murphy hit a ground ball to second, Hagan was forced out at second, but Brennen Smith scored from third for a 2-1 Portal lead. Eagle pitcher Darrin Truett was then called for a balk, plating Oglesby from third, and giving Portal a 3-1 lead.

    Montgomery got a run back in the fourth. An RBI double by Truett cut the lead to 3-2. Portal managed to get out of a jam from there. With runners on second and third and one out Page lifted a fly ball fairly deep to left, Jordan Glisson attempted to tag up and score, but a perfect throw from Blake Hendrix cut Glisson down at the plate as Oglesby applied the tag ending the inning.

    Portal added a run in the fifth on an RBI single to left by Ogelsby, but the Eagles added two runs in the top of the sixth on a Glisson RBI and a few Panther errors to tie the game at 4-4.

    Portal had a chance to win in the bottom of the seventh, as with the bases loaded Murphy hit a hard line drive to left that was caught by Carson Williams for out number three.

    Montgomery County returned the favor in the top of the eighth, as they would put runners on second and third with no out. Jordan Glisson then sent a slow roller to Hagan who fired to first for the first out. The Panthers then intentionally walked Pruett to load the bases, and Hagan struck out Page. Hagan then got Tyler Hess to ground out to second for out number three.

    “Tyler found a way to rise to the occasion there in the top of the eighth,” Moore said. “I’m so proud of the way we kept playing. We had plenty of mistakes out there tonight, but we managed to play through it, and were able to grind out a win.”

    Portal improves to 6-12 overall and 2-7 in region play. Up next for the Panthers is a trip to Savannah Country Day with a 5:30 p.m. first pitch scheduled for Friday afternoon.