Late rally lifts Purdy to victory
For the third consecutive year and sixth time in seven years, the Purdy Eagles baseball team claimed the Ozark 7 Conference title.
On Monday, the Eagles scored four times in the sixth inning to earn a 4-2 victory over Wheaton.
"Every win is important, and tonight we earned another conference title," said Purdy coach Joshua Hughes. "However, we only achieved a portion of our goals this season with the victory. We have to stay hungry, because we know there is still a lot of season left."
The Bulldogs struck early, scoring two runs in the first inning.
Tyler Musick singled with one out and scored on Kyle Robbins' double. Steven Hendrix then singled to score Robbins.
Purdy pitcher Reese Stevenson settled in after the first inning and only allowed two Wheaton hits the rest of the game. Stevenson threw six and two-thirds innings, allowed six hits and two earned runs and struck out 12.
"I was battling my nerves in the first inning," said Stevenson. "It was a big win for us. I don't think I really did anything special on the mound tonight. I had my teammates making plays behind me."
Robbins took the hill for Wheaton and kept the powerful Eagles' lineup from getting the "big" hit. Purdy stranded a pair of runners in the first, fourth and fifth innings.
"I knew we would eventually score," said Stevenson. "We kept getting guys on but couldn't get that clutch hit to bring them in."
Robbins pitched three and one-third innings, allowed no runs and struck out six. He was lifted in the fourth inning, and Sean Goostree finished the game.
Purdy needed to rally to pull out the win.
In the home half of the sixth inning, Alex Mareth drew a one-out walk. With two outs, Reese Stevenson coaxed another walk off Goostree. A double steal moved the runners to second and third.
Alex Haworth was the Eagles' next batter. Haworth hit a ground ball back to Goostree, who elected to throw the ball home instead of to first base for the inning's final out. Mareth slid around the tag of the catcher, and Purdy cut the lead to 2-1.
Cody Hall extended the inning by ripping a single past first base to score Stevenson and Haworth. Cameron Terry then singled to score Hall.
"Wheaton is a tough team," said Hughes. "They outplayed us during the game. We just happened to score more runs."
Goostree was saddled with the loss. He pitched two and two-thirds innings, allowed four hits and four earned runs and struck out seven.
The Eagles improved to 14-2 and will host Pierce City on Thursday. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.