CLEAN SLATE: Portageville baseball looks to avenge last season’s district tournament loss to Scott City with a big 2019 season

Monday, March 18, 2019
Portageville Bulldogs
Scott Seal/Portageville Missourian

PORTAGEVILLE, Mo. — Now in his third year as head coach of the Portageville baseball team, Tyler Trover said that this particular group’s chemistry is fantastic.

As head coach, Trover has a 37-16 record with the Bulldogs and is entering his sixth season as a head baseball coach.

“The way our experienced guys are helping the underclassmen is exactly what a coach wants to see,” Trover said. “They have a very business-like mentality to their approach. I feel like there is not a lot of wasted time in practice, which has created a great culture. This will benefit our team when we do deal with adversity.

Portageville second baseman Connar Barham throws to first against East Prairie in a high school baseball game Thursday, April 26, 2018, in East Prairie, Mo.
David Jenkins/Standard Democrat

“As long as everyone in this for the right reasons, winning, we will continue to improve and get better as the season progresses. This is probably the most depth that we have had since I have been here. We feel like we have quite a few guys pushing for playing time on a daily basis.”

Last year, Portageville ended with a 17-8 record, earning third-place in the Malden Invitational Tournament, second-place in the Bootheel Conference Tournament, and second-place in the Class 3 District 1 Tournament.

“We enter Class 2 this year. Fortunately, the teams that we will compete against are already on our schedule, annually,” Trover said. “We are familiar with the teams in our district, and we feel we can be right in the mix. Bernie, South Pemiscot, and Campbell should field very competitive clubs this year. Senath has a great baseball tradition, so we fully expect them to compete day to day. Holcomb is very young but are certainly getting better.

“This district will have a lot of parity.”

Portageville fields five returners — four seniors and one junior — in Connor Barham, Sam Riggs, Kile Adams, Bub Lance, and Jared Crafton.

“This team has the make-up to be very competitive,” Trover said. “Our goal has not changed, as we always want to put ourselves in position to win a district championship. If our group will put in the work daily to improve throughout the season, we feel like we can be back in that position again.”

“Our team has the potential to be well-rounded. We have a nice mix of arms to throw on the bump that can keep us competitive on a daily basis. We also feel like we have the potential to be dangerous offensively up and down the order. With that being said, we must continue getting better every day so that we shore up defensively.”

For Trover, leadership is one aspect that need not get overlooked.

After all, for the Bulldogs to make a deep postseason run, he will need a lot of it.

“Our guys are constantly being evaluated through a process in practice,” Trover said. “We have utilized a lot of video and charting that aims to help put our guys in the best position to be successful. We have different guys stepping up daily. That makes the decision tough on the coaching staff, but that is what we like to see. We want guys grinding it out and constantly proving their case to be or stay on the field.”

Portageville began their season on Saturday with an 8-0 win over East Carter and a 17-2 drubbing of Thayer, at East Carter High School in Ellsinore, Mo. The Bulldogs take the field next, on Thursday, when it faces Caruthersville at 4:30 p.m.

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