CENTENARY, Ohio — Simply put, Portsmouth put the Blue Devils’ victory party on hold.
That’s because the visiting Trojans, by scoring the game’s final eight runs, stunned Ohio Valley Conference baseball-leading Gallia Academy on Friday — escaping the Robert Eastman Ballfield for an 8-1 upset.
Gallia Academy only got a single solitary first-inning point, as the Trojans tallied single markers in the second, third and fifth frames — sandwiched around a five-run outburst in the fourth that made it 7-1.
Meanwhile, the workhorse the Trojans rode on Friday was the arm of pitcher Ryan Williams, who tossed a complete-game two-hit gem —allowing no earned runs with three walks while striking out four.
Portsmouth — conversely — posted 10 hits off Blue Devil starting pitcher Jeremy Brumfield, who surrendered seven runs with a walk.
Brumfield went the opening two and two-thirds, before Brody Thomas relieved him for the final two and one-third.
He gave up the sixth-inning run, which combined a hit batsman, a Jack Workman single, and back-to-back sacrifice bunts.
Bryce Wallace, with the second of those sacrifices, wound up driving in the eighth run.
Both Blue Devil hurlers struck out two, as the loss is potentially devastating to their OVC championship hopes.
Entering Friday’s league slate, the Blue Devils were alone atop the conference at 9-3, but are now 9-4 and 12-7 overall.
Among the other teams with at least four league losses were Ironton, Coal Grove and Rock Hill.
The Blue Devils — the defending league champions — can still win at least a share of the OVC crown, and perhaps even make an outright claim should they defeat visiting Rock Hill on Monday.
However, the Trojans spoiled Gallia Academy’s opportunity at a co-championship, as the Blue and White won at Portsmouth 7-2.
The only run Williams allowed on Friday was in the first inning — when John Stout scored after leading off and getting hit by a pitch.
Stout advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt by Cole Davis, and then scored on a Trojan error off the bat of Garrett McGuire.
But Brumfield in the fourth and Davis in the fifth were Gallia Academy’s only other basehits, as the Blue Devils stranded eight total baserunners, including half of them at third base.
Brumfield reached on an error to lead off the second and Tanner Allen walked, but Williams stranded them at second and third.
Brumfield was left at third in the third, then Stout and Davis were left on the corners in the fifth.
Thomas and Brumfield both walked to lead off the sixth, but Williams induced Wyatt Sipple into grounding into a 6-4 fielder’s choice — once again leaving Devils on the corners.
Four different Trojans churned out two hits, as Williams led the way with a two-run double and three RBI.
Portsmouth plated a pair of hits as part of its 2-1 lead, then cranked out six hits off Brumfield in the fourth, which also included a pair of errors.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106