PONDER — After a first inning that looked like Ponder and Brock were in for a slugfest, both starting pitchers settled into a duel until the state’s top-ranked team scored a second big inning en route to a 6-2 win over Ponder on Tuesday night.
Ponder pitcher Josh Peterson, making his first start of the season after helping lead the Ponder basketball team to the Class 2A state championship, gave up two runs in the first inning and held No. 1 Brock (21-1, 6-0 District 9-2A) to one hit over the next three before the Eagles broke through in the top of the fifth inning.
“It’s usually like that when we play those guys,” Ponder coach Mark Low said. “It’s usually close and then someone has a big inning.”
The Eagles’ fifth inning began with a shallow pop-up, but No. 9 hitter Hayden James laid down a perfect bunt to beat out an infield single and later scored on a sacrifice fly. When the dust settled, the Eagles had three fifth-inning runs and added an insurance run in the seventh.
Low said he was pleased with Peterson’s outing, in which he threw 107 pitches and struck out five hitters.
“That’s the best he’s pitched so far,” Low said. “With those kids coming out of basketball, it takes them awhile to get going. He’s good about throwing his bullpens during the basketball season, but that’s the first time he’s come out and looked like he had it for more than an inning or two. He looked good tonight. He was good enough to get the win.
“We need him. He’s got to be like he was tonight. He was good tonight.”
Ponder had a chance to seize momentum early when the Lions led off the second with three straight first-pitch singles off Brock starter Titus Gossett. But the third one, off the bat of Shane Scott, ended with an out when Brock right fielder Jordan Andre gunned down Ponder’s Carson Knight at the plate on an attempt to give the Lions a 3-2 lead.
Gossett ended up getting out of the second unscathed on just seven pitches despite giving up the three singles to start the inning, and the game remained tied at 2.
“In this game, especially against them, you have to try to get that run,” Low said. “You have to take your chances against those guys because they’re too good. The kid doesn’t bobble it, you don’t go. But when it got past him, you have to try to score. It took a good throw. It was a bang-bang play and I’m not sure he was out, but that’s just the way it is.”
Brock coach Chad Massey said the play gave his team the momentum to win the game.
“Anytime you can stop momentum, it’s good, and anytime you can create momentum it’s good for you,” he said. “When they’ve got the momentum, you have to stop it. And if you don’t have it, you have to try to get it going.”
Ponder (8-7, 3-3) begins the second half of District 9-2A play Friday at home against Boyd, and Low said he feels comfortable about where his team is, especially with the recent addition of Peterson and starting center fielder Chase Harris, who played his first game Tuesday after suffering a concussion at the state basketball tournament.
“Chase has to hurry and get going, and Josh has to keep doing what he did tonight,” Low said. “But I’m proud of what we did. We hit the ball well tonight. We just couldn’t get that big hit in that one [second] inning.”
ADAM BOEDEKER can be reached at 940-566-6872 and via Twitter at @aboedeker.
Brock 6, Ponder 2
WP — Titus Gossett. LP — Josh Peterson. 2B — P: Keaton Malcom, Collin Knight. 3B — B: Kolbin Mills. Records — Brock (21-1, 6-0). Ponder (8-7, 3-3).