Ocean Springs pitchers shut down Gulfport, winning 4-0 on Friday night.
Gulfport (7-1, 1-1 Region 8-6A) left 10 runners on base, losing for the first time this season.
“That’s been our m.o. all season,” said Gulfport coach Jamie McMahon. “Sometimes we’ve gotten the two-out hit, but we’ve left a lot of runners on base.”
For most of the season, the Admirals offense has been productive enough to win games. However, on Friday, Gulfport left three at second base and three on third base.
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In the first inning, Castor Lee singled with one out, stole second on a strikeout, but was left stranded after Ocean Springs pitcher Garrett Crochet induced a grounder to third to escape.
In the second inning, Ethan Saucier started the inning with a single off Crochet’s glove. However, a foul out on a bunt attempt and a strikeout ended the Admirals inning. With two outs in the third inning, Gabe Lacy found himself on third after passed ball and wild pitch. But a grounder to third ended the inning.
In the sixth, Blake Johnson ripped a double into the right-center ally to begin the inning. A grounder to third moved Johnson to third with only one out. But Crochet got two strikeouts to end the inning, keeping Gulfport scoreless.
“He kept skirting around trouble,” said Ocean Springs coach Brian Rea. “But a sign of a good pitcher is that on nights when you don’t have your best stuff, you still put runners away.”
Johnson pitched behind runners throughout the night, getting him into trouble, but was able make pitches when it counted. Four of his nine strikeouts came with runners in scoring position.
“He made some pressure pitches tonight,” Rea said. “He made some key pitches at the right time to get out of those situations.”
Getting out of trouble has been a common theme for Johnson on the mound.
“I’ve been good at getting out of trouble,” he said. “You just have to relax and stay calm.”
Johnson picked up the win for Ocean Springs. Chance Goley pitched the final inning for the Greyhounds (4-5, 2-0 Region 7-6A), striking out two, but walking a pair. He allowed Dillon Brown to reach second before ending any Admiral hopes. He got out of the inning with a strikeout and forced a pop foul to the catcher.
At the start, it looked like both teams would have trouble scoring. Ocean Springs received four walks in the first inning, but scored only one run. In the third, Britt McKay worked his way to third after reaching on a fielder’s choice, scoring when a pickoff attempt from the catcher went into leftfield.
Bailey Keeton added an insurance run in the fourth on a solo homer, but the Greyhounds left runners on second and third in the inning. In the fifth, Tres Wade’s double scored Keafen Shoemake. He was running for Goley, who walked to open the inning.
Ocean Springs left eight runners on base, including seven in scoring position. Goley and Austin Cates each had a single and two walks to pace the Greyhounds at the plate.
Patrick Nelm took the loss for Gulfport, but struck out eight batters over five innings. He gave up three runs, including two earned. Keoki James pitched the final two innings and struck out three. The run scored against James was unearned.
Lee had a pair of singles to lead Gulfport's batters.