High School Sports

Gulfport slips past Biloxi

Blake Johnson, Gulfport
Blake Johnson, Gulfport Veto Roley/Special to the Sun Herald

GULFPORT For the second straight game, Gulfport benefitted with runners in scoring position.

The Admirals came from behind to beat Biloxi 4-3 on Friday night.

The comeback victory gives Gulfport (17-1, 5-1 Region 8-6A) its ninth one-run victory on the season and its second consecutive one-run win over the Indians (12-7, 2-4). The win also moves the Admirals within one game of securing a playoff spot.

Down 3-1 in the bottom of the sixth, Gulfport finally started putting together hits with runners in scoring position after going 1-for-13 with runners in scoring position this week against Biloxi including Tuesday’s 3-2 win.

With one out, Ethan Saucier doubled. Although Biloxi pitcher Trey Shaffer came back with a stikeout for the second out in the inning, but Beckett White’s double cut the Indians’ lead to 3-2. Patrick Nelm followed with a hard single into right-center to tie the game at 3-3.

“Shaffer is a good competitor,“ said Gulfport coach Jamie McMahon. “He is a tough competitor. I told our guys in the sixth inning that we needed to compete like he competes.”

McMahon believed Saucier’s double helped set the stage for the inning, which also featured two wild pitches by Shaffer.

“When you get the double and put runners immediately into scoring position, that puts more pressure on the pitcher,” McMahon said.

Gulfport continued to apply pressure in the bottom of the seventh against Nick Skaggs, who replaced Shaffer. Leadoff hitter Dillon Brown fouled off a number of pitches to earn a walk to start the inning.

“That was the biggest at bat of the inning,” McMahon said. “He finds a way to get on base. I knew that he would be able to get on.”

Castor Lee bunted Brown to second. Brown advanced to third on a wild pitch. Brown scored the winning run on Blake Johnson’s deep fly ball to centerfield. Brown patiently waited to tag and easily scoring on the play.

“I told the guys we had to find a way to score the guys, whether it was by hit, a ground out, or a sacrifice fly,” McMahon said. “We did that tonight.”

The Indians took the lead in the third inning following three consecutive one-out walks. Jacob Collier singled through the middle to score Shaffer and Gabe Garza. Gulfport starter Patrick Nelm, though, would recover quickly and strike out the final two batters in the inning.

Nelm kept Gulfport in the game, allowing only three more baserunners - one on an error - over the final four innings. He would finish with six strikeouts against five hits to pick up the complete-game win.

Biloxi started the game with a bang, with Tucker Thomas bouncing a ball off the top of the wall in the left-center ally for a leadoff home run. Gulfport came back in the bottom of the inning with a single run off a hit batsman, single and walk, with Gabe Lacy scoring off a wild pitch.

Saucier paced Gulfport at the plate with two hits, a double, and a walk. White added a two hits, including a double and RBI.

Thomas paced Biloxi at the plate with a home run and single. Collier finished with a pair of singles and two RBIs for the Indians