Ponies slay Dragons 6-2, 12-4
In mid-season, Coach Todd Shelton shuffled his infield to shore up the Ponies defense. It worked. Prior to Friday’s doubleheader with the Paris Dragons, Shelton shuffled his batting order to spark the Ponies’ sluggish offense. It worked.
The Ponies victimized the Dragons’ pitchers for 25 hits and 18 runs. The hits included two homeruns in the first inning of the second game by Hunter Hagler and Clint Cage.
In Game 1, Gavin Williamson took the mound and dominated for the second straight start. The former Carthage Bulldogs star hurled a complete 7-inning game for the win, allowing the hard-hitting Dragons only one earned run on four hits while striking out three. The win brought Williamson’s record to 3-1. His ERA in conference play is 2.57.
Greg Martens, batting in the two-hole for the first time in weeks, started things off for the Ponies with a single, then scored when Hagler extended his hitting streak to nine games with the first of his five hits on the day. The teams exchanged leads five times until the 6th inning, when the Ponies scored five runs. Matt Spruill’s RBI single scored Cage to give Panola the lead for good. The Ponies tacked on four more runs on an RBI single by Giovanni Lugo and a three-run triple by shortstop Trevin Sonnier, who has wielded one of the Ponies’ hot bats in recent games. Martens, Lugo and Hagler each had two hits for the Ponies.
Final Score: Ponies 6 Dragons 2
In Game 2, the Ponies scored three times in the first inning on Hagler’s two-run homer (3) and Cage’s solo homerun (4). Hagler would add two singles and another RBI to his totals for the game. Cage had three hits on the day.
In the second inning, the Ponies racked up seven more runs. The inning started with a pop-up to second. Then Sonnier doubled to right, Derrian James’ single scored him, and the Ponies were off to the races. Hagler, Lugo, Cage and Randy Ventura hit consecutive singles. Hagler’s single scored James, and Ventura scored Hagler. Cage and Ventura then scored on Ely Whitmire’s single. Spruill closed out the scoring for the inning when the Dragon’s second baseman misplayed Sonnier’s ground ball.
Hagler led off the third, reached base on an error, and took third on Lugo’s double to right. Hagler then scored on a passed ball, making the score 11-0. The Dragons touched Ponies’ starter Hunter Palmer for three of their four runs in the bottom of the fourth. Afterwards, Palmer shut down the Dragons’ offense until Adam Atkins relieved him in the ninth.
The Pony bats, too, were mostly quiet until the top of the 7th when Ventura’s RBI double plated Lugo. Ventura is batting .400 in conference games. On the day, he had three hits with the two RBI in the second game.
With the score 12-3 in the bottom of the ninth, the Dragons managed an unearned run off reliever Atkins. Palmer, who started the game, scattered 8 hits to earn his fifth win against two losses on the year.
Hagler extended his hitting streak to 10 games and is now hitting .348. During the streak, the Oklahoma State signee has hit safely 20 times in 46 at-bats, a .435 average. He has hit safely in 20 of the Ponies’ last 21 games. His power numbers, too, are up, as he has hit three home runs in five games.
Lugo leads the team in hitting with a .376 average. He is followed by Hagler and Martens, who is batting .333. Cage leads the team in home runs with four. James and Hagler have three home runs each. Five other Ponies have homered this year.
The two wins bring the Ponies’ conference record to 14-6, right on the heels of the conference-leading Navarro Bulldogs, who are 15-3. The Ponies have a much needed bye to rest up for the resumption of conference play Saturday, April 6, when the Angelina Roadrunners come to town. The doubleheader starts at 1pm.
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