PARKERS CHAPEL – In the storied history between Parkers Chapel and Junction City on the baseball diamond, there have been many memorable performances.
On Monday, Trace Shoup added his name to the ledger, as the senior fired a no-hitter and struck out 14 to lead the Trojans to an 8-0 win over the Dragons in an 8-2A clash at Robert McKinnon Park.
Shoup, who has signed with LSU-Eunice, was perfect for 5 2/3 innings until a dropped fly ball followed by a walk gave the Dragons their first two baserunners of the game.
Shoup walked A’Donnis Jones with one out in the seventh, but struck out the next two batters to finish off his gem.
“I just looked to throw strikes and hit spots and let my defense play behind me,” Shoup said of his performance.
Parkers Chapel coach Mark Looney said getting ahead in the count and changing speeds were critical to Shoup’s success.
“He did a tremendous job,” Looney said. “The biggest thing about pitching is throwing strikes and then changing speeds, and he did that. The times they did put the ball in play, our defense made some plays. We had the one error, but we overcame that.”
In his last three outings, Shoup has allowed five hits and one earned run in 18 innings of work. He has walked nine and struck out 32 batters in registering wins over Monticello, Genoa Central and Junction City.
“I felt like Trace was going to have a good day,” Looney said. “He had a great outing at Genoa Central coming out of the bullpen. He had four good days of rest. We extended him on the pitch count a little bit because he had the no-hitter going. If he didn’t have it going, he probably wouldn’t have pitched the seventh.”
The Trojans gave Shoup all of the breathing room he would need in the bottom of the first by scoring four runs without the aid of a hit against Junction City’s Gabe Richard.
With one out, the Trojans loaded the bases on walks to Chris Greer and Austin Looney sandwiched around Shoup getting hit by a pitch.
With Mason Dougan at the plate, a wild pitch on the 1-0 offering allowed Greer to score the game’s first run.
Dougan later walked to reload the bases and a passed ball on the 0-1 pitch to Wyatt New allowed Shoup to score to make it 2-0.
With runners now at second and third, New reached after his slow roller in front of second base was misplayed for an error to bring home Looney to push the Trojans’ lead to 3-0.
Now with runners at the corners, Blake Caldwell reached after his grounder to third was mishandled for the inning’s second error, allowing Dougan to score the final run of the frame.
Staked to an early lead, Shoup settled in. After striking out the side in the first, Shoup needed just six pitches in a 1-2-3 second before striking out the side for a second time in the third.
Six of the next eight outs Shoup recorded until the error in the fifth ended his run at a perfect game were also via strikeouts.
Richard himself settled down after the rocky first.
The senior pitched around an error and a walk in the second before working a perfect third.
Richard, who took the loss, didn’t allow a hit in his three innings of work. He walked four, hit a batter and struck out three.
“Gabe has been pretty sharp all year. He wasn’t at his sharpest, but he was good enough to keep us in the ballgame,” said Junction City coach Joe Paul Hammett. “We gave them four runs in the first without a hit. You give up four runs against Shoup and that kind of pitching, you’re going to have a tough day.”
Coyt Sellers took over for Richard and kept the Trojans hitless until the fifth when Dougan reached on an infield single and New followed with a bloop single to right, but the right-hander got Caldwell to foul out to third to avoid any damage. Earlier in the frame, Shoup reached on an error, stole second and took third on a throwing error on the play, but was thrown out at the plate trying to score on Looney’s grounder to second.
However, the Trojans put the game away with a four-run sixth.
Spencer Frisby was hit by a pitch and Caleb Barnes reached on a bunt single down the third-base line to put runners at first and second.
Reid Cates then laced a base hit to left-center to score Frisby to make it 5-0.
Barnes went to third on the play and Cates was able to advance to second on the late throw to the plate to put runners at second and third.
One out later, Shoup drilled a base hit to center on Sellers’ first pitch that scored Barnes and Cates to extend the lead to 7-0.
“I felt like we stranded a few too many today, especially after the first inning,” Looney said. “It wasn’t a perfect day offensively, but we put in play. In the first inning, we got a couple of gifts that kind of kick-started us. We kind of went into a lull in the middle of the game and didn’t get that two-out hit to stretch the lead. Then we came alive and it really started with Caleb and the perfect bunt.”
Shoup later scored on a wild pitch, and all that remained was whether or not Shoup would be able to finish off his bid for a no-hitter.
Shoup got a good defensive play made behind him when Barnes made a sliding catch on Logan Pepper’s fly ball to right to start the inning, which was the lone out of the game recorded by Parkers Chapel’s outfield.
After walking Jones, Shoup finished with a flourish, racking up back-to-back strikeouts to end the game with his 100th pitch being his last.
“We did pretty good until the sixth,” Hammett said. “We made 10, 11 errors, and you can’t do that, especially against that kind of pitching, but give Shoup credit. He threw a good ballgame. We just couldn’t get on him.”
The Trojans had just five hits in the win with Shoup adding two RBIs on his sixth-inning single.
Winners of five straight, Parkers Chapel (15-5, 4-1) played at Spring Hill on Tuesday in a conference showdown.
Junction City (11-12, 4-1) played at Smackover on Tuesday and will host Woodlawn Thursday in an 8-2A clash.