The Nacogdoches Dragons are trying to put complete games together on the field, and had two more home opportunities Thursday as they were picked up as one of the home sites for the Pete Runnels Classic, along with Morris Frank Park in Lufkin.
But the Dragons couldn’t put it together offensively against Rudder early in the day, as Nacogdoches picked up only four hits in a 7-0 setback. NHS produced six hits in their afternoon contest against Port Neches-Groves, but dropped a 7-4 decision. Both games were played at Dragon Field.
Nacogdoches will bow out of the tournament beginning today (Friday), as NISD announced late Thursday that the district will not participate in any extra-curricular activities for one week. That means the no athletic teams will play in games or practice.
In the early game against Rudder, Reid Boyett put together five strong innings and left the contest allowing only one earned run (three total) on six hits, with five strikeouts and two walks.
But the Dragons allowed four unearned runs in the sixth frame while Kolton Koonce was on the hill, and dropped the 7-0 decision. Koonce gave up only four hits, with a pair of strikeouts and no walks.
“We had problems with hitting (against Rudder) and then had some fielding errors and mental errors,” said NHS head coach David Greer. “I thought Reid Boyett came out and pitched a good game and did a good job. He threw (pitches that turned into) a lot of ground balls. But we booted some of them and threw some away.
“After that you start putting pressure on yourself and then, of course, it carries over into the offensive lineup when it comes to hitting and you start to press. I think that’s what we did today.”
Trent Tompkins was the winning hurler for the Rangers. He worked 6.2 scoreless innings, giving up four hits, with six strikeouts and three walks.
The Dragons had trouble stringing hits together, finishing with only four. Blake Goerner (1-for-2), Reid Boyett (1-for-3), Blake Wilson (1-for-3) and Braden Ballenger (1-for-4) accounted for the four hits for NHS. Dillion Williams walked and stole a base and Koonce walked.
“It seems like we have had a lot of these kinds of games early in the season,” Greer continued. “We’ve had some games where we’re error-free, but our pitching doesn’t quite pick it up, and then we have others where we pitch well, but our defense has some mishaps. We just need to put it all together.”
Jaice Garcia and Cameron Bailey led the Rudder offense, as both players posted 2-for-4 games at the dish. One of Garcia’s hits was a double.
Port Neches-Groves 7, Nacogdoches 4 — Boyett was a perfect 2-for-2 at the dish, with a double, but the six hits the Dragons produced wasn’t enough in the loss to PNG. Boyett also scored a run.
Levi Stovall doubled, pushed in a pair of runs and scored once, while Ballenger, Williams (run) and Wilson each singled.
Kaden Koonce was the losing pitcher for NHS. He worked four innings, allowing two earned runs (4 total) on five hits, with three strikeouts and two walks.