PIKETON — In a tuneup to this week’s Region V American Legion Baseball Seniors Tournament, Portsmouth Post 23 pitched a non-league 5-0 shutout on Thursday — against the host post Waverly 142 Shockers.
In a non-league contest this time, between the SCOL foes from Piketon High School, Portsmouth plated four runs in the sixth inning and batted around —and added an insurance marker in the seventh.
Four Portsmouth pitchers, spearheaded by four-inning starter and winning hurler Jakob Tipton of West, combined to allow only five hits — and stranded 11 Shocker baserunners, including the bases loaded in the fourth.
Tipton tossed four innings, and gave up only three hits with two strikeouts, as Wheelersburg’s Cooper McKenzie struck out a pair in his inning —as Jackson’s Holden Blankenship and Greenup County’s Brock Kitchen worked one apiece.
In fact, in the seventh, Kitchen allowed a Weston Roop single —but Roop was doubled up off at first base to end the game, the second out of a 9-3 double play.
Portsmouth finished its regular season at 15-6, while Waverly went 15-12.
Thursday’s affair was indeed scheduled as a non-league tilt, because Portsmouth played Waverly twice already in the regular season —in SCOL play.
The Shockers (7-1 SCOL) swept Post 23 (5-3 SCOL), and as a result ended up as the top-seeded squad in the Region V Tournament — taking place this week in Chillicothe.
Portsmouth is the second-seeded team, as the six-team tournament which also includes Yeager-Benson Post 199 —as always —is double-elimination.
Against Waverly on Thursday, the two clubs played to a scoreless tie through the opening five frames —as Waverly’s Roger Woodruff battled Tipton in an early pitcher’s duel.
Woodruff went the first three frames for the Shockers, then yielded to Tipton’s teammate with West—Trevor Fike.
Fike (2 1/3 innings pitched), Ben Nichols (2/3 innings pitched), and Roop (one inning pitched) finished out for the Shockers — as four of the five Post 23 runs were earned.
In the sixth, Kitchen doubled, Caeleb McGraw reached on an error, and Isaiah Kelly walked to load the bases —setting up Lane Hutchinson clearing them with a double.
Hutchinson then scored on Aodhan Queen’s RBI-double to cap the four-run outburst —as Tipton singled and Jacob Sloan also walked in the inning.
In the seventh, Kitchen doubled and later scored —and McKenzie singled as well.
Tipton in the second, McKenzie in the third, and Sloan in the fifth also singled —while Kitchen in the first, Kelly in the second and Tyler Brammer in the third all walked.
Speaking of walks, Waverly’s Peyton Harris had one in the fifth, while Woodruff and Garrett Moore both drew bases on balls for the Shockers in the sixth.
But Woodruff was caught stealing, and both Harris and Moore were left stranded.
Tipton walked Roop in the first, then Woodruff doubled and Milak Diack was hit by a pitch in the second —before Nichols singled and Dax Estep doubled in the third.
But the West right-hander, a regular on the Post 23 Juniors unit, stranded that fivesome —before the Shockers left the bases loaded in the fourth.
With two outs, Diack and L.T. Jordan both walked —sandwiched around an Alex Boles single.
Both teams are set to play on Tuesday (July 19) in the Region V Tournament —with Portsmouth playing the winner of fourth-seeded Circleville and fifth-seeded Chillicothe, and the Shockers seeing the winner of third-seeded Hillsboro and sixth-seeded Yeager-Benson.
Waverly will play at 9 a.m. followed by Portsmouth playing at 11:30 a.m. —both at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.