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Trojans win twice, but also lose to Bruins

By: Matt Long
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Despite a disappointing 3-2 loss in eight innings to Ponderosa on Friday, Oak Ridge High varsity baseball coach Todd Melton is happy with what he saw from his team last week. The Trojans, 2-1 in league and 5-3 overall, had two masterful pitching performances from Kyle Porter and Jordan Mills and even Friday’s starter, Max Everingham, threw well, allowing four hits and striking out seven in six innings. Porter started the week with a complete game shutout against Vista del Lago, scattering three hits, while striking out eight. Mills followed with a two-hitter against Union Mine on Wednesday where he struck out six. Mills, who has verbally committed to St. Mary’s, had all four of his pitches working for him. “Coach (Craig) Taylor called a great game for me,” Mills said. “He had a good scouting report on them. My changeup was working really well. I got ahead with my fastball and then was putting guys away with the changeup. “My curve ball and splitter were working too.” Offensively, John Gallagher led the way with three hits and four RBI. Jake Schu also had a hit and scored two runs in the 6-0 win. Oak Ridge also defeated Vista del Lago by a 6-0 score. Helping Porter out offensively were Schu, Jeff McKenzie and Kevin Stockam, who all had two hits, while McKenzie, Stockam and Colby Wilmer both scored two runs. Wilmer and McKenzie tripled, while Kyle Beasy doubled and drove in two runs. It was the loss to Ponderosa, however, that put a bad taste in the mouth of the Melton. It was a game, Melton felt, his team should have won. “We’ll be OK,” Melton said. “We’re fine, but those are the games that we have to learn to win. We also have to get a win at Ponderosa. We almost beat them twice last year up there but didn’t.” Everingham pitched well through six innings and Porter came on to finish the game. Ponderosa didn’t hit but three balls hard all game, according to Melton, but found the open spots. “It was one of those games where we were stinging the ball but hitting it right at guys,” Melton said. “In the fifth inning we hit into a 4-6-3 double play and in the seventh we hit another ball hard and got doubled off first base.” Oak Ridge led 2-0 in the fifth following a home run by Gallagher when McKenzie walked, Willie Tucker doubled and Wilmer singled to load the bases. Stockam then ripped a hard-hit ball, but instead of Oak Ridge scoring two runs, Ponderosa turned it into two outs to get out of the inning. In the seventh inning, Gallagher walked and McKenzie moved him to third on a single. Tucker then lined a ball to second base and McKenzie was doubled off first. “It’s tough because we were handcuffing their hitters and getting them to hit the ball off the end of the bat, but they were finding the holes,” Melton said. Mills agreed with his coach that the team will rebound from the loss. “We’ll bounce back,” Mills said. “We’ve got great team chemistry and we all have each other’s back.” Oak Ridge travels to Christian Brothers today, before playing host to Galt on Friday.