PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — Sometimes, it’s indeed best to arrive late to the party.
By scoring its final five runs over the final three innings, and after staking an early five-run advantage, the Gallia Academy High School baseball squad captured a 7-2 Ohio Valley Conference victory on Wednesday at host Portsmouth.
The Blue Devils, by plating a pair of runs in the second and sixth innings sandwiched around a single tally in the fifth, raced out to a 5-0 lead.
The Trojans sliced into the deficit by scoring two earned runs in the sixth stanza, but Gallia Academy answered with two more insurance markers in the top of the seventh.
The Blue Devils did take advantage of three Portsmouth errors, but amassed a dozen hits as three GAHS pitchers combined to limit the Trojans to only five baseknocks.
With the victory, Gallia Academy evened its OVC record to 2-2, part of now 4-3.
The Blue Devils dug themselves an early hole in the conference standings last week, but bounced back this week before Thursday’s league road show at Rock Hill.
Bailey Walker was the starting and winning pitcher for Gallia Academy, working the opening five innings and tossing a two-hit, two-walk shutout with three strikeouts.
He faced four batters apiece in his opening and closing innings, sandwiched around retiring the side 1-2-3 in the second and third frames.
He opened the game by retiring nine of the first 10 Trojans he saw, including eight in a row at one point.
The only Portsmouth baserunners before the sixth were Ty Oliver on a single in the first and a walk in the fourth, Reese Johnson on a hit-by-pitch in the fourth, Mikey P0tts on a single in the fourth, and finally a Devin Jackson walk in the fifth.
In the fourth, Walker escaped potential trouble when he stranded Johnson and Potts on the corners.
In the sixth, the Trojans got to reliever Kaden Thomas, who allowed a leadoff single to Oliver before a two-out double by Potts.
Potts plated Oliver, who later crossed himself on a bases-loaded walk to Zach Basye.
But with the bases still loaded, Brody Thomas relieved Kaden Thomas — and promptly picked up a strikeout to end the inning.
Brody Thomas then faced five batters in the seventh, striking out two and stranding two.
Johnson, who allowed five runs on eight hits and no walks, pitched the first six innings for Portsmouth.
Zach Kinney worked the final frame for the Trojans, and allowed two earned runs on four consecutive hits.
In that seventh stanza, Braden Simms singled to lead off — before an RBI-double by Garrett McGuire drove in Simms.
Jeremy Brumfield then collected an RBI-single, before Brody Thomas made it a 3-for-3 day with his first single following two doubles and being hit by a pitch.
McGuire and John Stout had two hits apiece, as Brumfield, Cole Davis, Josh Faro and Tanner Allen each added one.
McGuire and Allen amounted two runs batted in, while Faro and Dylan Smith joined Brumfield with a ribby.
The Blue Devils are back in action on Saturday — when they travel to Piketon for a non-league doubleheader at noon.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106