Two strong pitching performances helped the Portage Collegiate Institute Trojans clinch first place Thursday. They swept Garden Valley in both games of a doubleheader Thursday in Zone 4 high school baseball at Rotary Republic Park in Portage la Prairie.
"Getting ahead in the count is important and I always try to do that," says Trojans pitcher Brody Moffatt. "Lane Taylor called a good game behind the plate and on the error side of things, that's going to happen. As a pitcher you have to battle through that because everyone will make an error, you just have to power through."
Moffatt pitched a complete five innings to get an 8-1 win in the first game. He gave up one run on five hits and struck out six batters along the way. Moffatt, Tanner Boyle and Tyler Van Deynze each had two RBI's, while Joey Moffatt and Lane Taylor each finished with one.
The second game was similar in the sense the Trojans came away with a victory. They won 6-4, narrowly holding on after giving up four runs in the bottom of the final inning. Jayson Brooks picked up the win on the mound, pitching four scoreless innings and giving up just two hits. Joey Moffatt came in to close out the game. He gave up four runs on four hits but still managed to get the job done.
"I'm not a guy that strikes out a lot of guys," laughs Brooks. "I look for the ground balls, and fly balls, and I have a lot of trust in my infield and outfield to make plays. They've been doing it all year and that's what we're best at."
The highlight of the night was an over the fence foul ball catch from Reilly Funk in the final inning of game two. It was the second out of the inning and helped close things out. He's excited about taking the top spot in the Zone.
"We set out to do a job this year, we knew we could do it, and that's what we did. We need one win to clinch first, and we doubled it up and got both of them. Everyone can swing a bat through the lineup, and everyone does their job. No one should get in our way if we do our job at Zones."
Trojans' head coach Jay Dewis is looking forward to a bye in the first round of the Zone tournament.
"I think we've set ourselves up in a good spot for Zones. Hopefully, we're peaking at the right time here."
The Trojans host the Zone 4 Championship Tournament Tuesday at Rotary Republic Park. They've earned a bye to the semifinal at 1 p.m.