Ponies split two with NE Texas Eagles
The Panola Ponies’ baseball team extended their win streak to 8 games Wednesday when they overcame a four-run deficit to beat the Northeast Texas Eagles 7-6 in the first game of a doubleheader. The Ponies’ comeback magic, as well as their win streak, ended when the Eagles took a 5-0 lead in the second game and went on to win 11-4.
In the first game, the Ponies had to overcome Wesley Hoover’s third inning grand slam off Ponies’ starter Preston Guillory. Guillory settled down after the grand slam, stifling the Eagles until the sixth inning, when the Eagles, aided by two Pony miscues, plated another run. Hallsville freshman Jesse Hanson relieved Guillory and recorded the third out of the inning. Freshman Adam Atkins surrendered a home run to the Eagles’ Cameron O’Brien, but closed out the seventh to earn the save. Guillory was credited with the win. Atkins earned the save.
Offensively, freshman Clint Cage and sophomore Giovanni Lugo each had two hits. Cage scored twice and drove in one run. With the Eagles leading 5-3 in the bottom of the sixth, Randy Ventura led off the Ponies’ half of the inning with a single, took second on a passed ball, and scored on shortstop Trevin Sonnier’s single. Derrian James followed with another RBI single, plating Carthage’s Jacob Blissett, and Matt Spruill and Hunter Hagler followed suit with RBI singles of their own.
In the second game, Ponies’ starter Kolby Schufft was tagged with the second Eagle’s grand slam on the day. In the second inning, Coach Todd Shelton went to his bullpen, calling on Hanson again. Hanson pitched well into the fourth, when a walk, a triple, a single and another walk forced Shelton to bring Robbie Petty in to relieve. Petty was relieved by Lugo, and Atkins closed out the ninth for the Ponies.
In his six innings, Eagles’ starter Tanner Allgood held the Ponies in check, surrendering only two runs, while striking out eight. Only Lugo seemed able to the sidewinding Allgood, cracking two singles and a double. Lugo scored two of the Ponies’ four runs. Sonnier had two singles and an RBI. The Ponies threatened against reliever Tanner Bailey in the seventh inning, plating two runs before the rally ended on Derrian James’s deep fly to center.
The Ponies are now 16-10 overall, with a 10-4 conference record. Next up, the Bossier Parrish Cavaliers come to town Saturday, March 23, for a doubleheader that starts at 1 p.m. A month ago, the Ponies won the first two meetings between these teams, 5-4 and 9-3. The Cavs are 16-12 overall, with 2-9 conference record.