After a hot start the Alvord Bulldogs (9-6, 3-2) could not keep the momentum going, as Ponder rallied from an early three-run deficit Monday.
The Lions put up eight runs in the final three innings to take an 8-3 victory.
“We can play with any team in the district. Ponder is a team that is going to compete for the playoffs, and we got up 3-0 on them,” Alvord coach Chris Staley said. “The kids just have to learn that they are going to have to battle, and no lead is safe.
“Until they realize that they have some growing to do.”
Micah Broadstreet got the start for Ponder, and the Bulldogs got to him early. Kane Rice connected on a one-out double in the first and later scored on an infield single by Justin Heap.
The Bulldogs added to their 1-0 lead in the third. Rice led off the inning with a single, and Lane Peace followed with a home run to left.
Ponder immediately made a pitching change. Ethan Easterling took over on the mound to shut down Alvord the rest of the way.
Casen Baker held his own for Alvord, but the Lions finally broke through in the fifth. A leadoff triple and an RBI single gave Ponder their first run of the game.
Alvord’s defense then allowed two more runs in the inning, committing a couple of errors in the field. Another error and a fielder’s choice RBI gave Ponder a 5-3 lead in the sixth.
“That has kind of been the story of our season,” Staley said. “We’ve been inconsistent and up and down. Until we can put it all together we are going to be a .500 team.”
Alvord’s offense couldn’t solve Easterling. He struck out 11 in six innings and only allowed four hits.
“He [Easterling] had a good curveball, and we didn’t hit it very well,” Staley said. “A three-run lead is not safe in this league.”
Baker’s defense let him down again in the seventh. After an RBI single by Kade Copp, the Bulldogs allowed two more runs on a throwing error.
“He walked a couple of guys late in the game, and we had a couple of errors,” Staley said about Baker’s performance. “We just have to play better defense.
“Anytime we have Casen on the mound we are going to have a chance to win. We just have to play solid defense behind him.”
Keaton Malcom led the Lions’ offense with two hits.
Peace finished with two hits and two RBI’s to lead Alvord. Heap and Rice also ended the night with a couple of hits.
Alvord will travel to Millsap Thursday.