‘Burg bats come alive in win over Portsmouth


WHEELERSBURG — Wheelersburg’s lineup took advantage of their second and third times to the plate during their meeting with Portsmouth on Thursday at Gene Bennett Park.

After scoring a run in the home half of the first inning and a scoreless second, the defending D-III state champion Lady Pirates scored 10 runs scattered across their final four innings at the plate to secure a 11-0 win over the Lady Trojans — improving their record to 7-0.

“I think that’s just softball today. There are teams that when you get your lineup through that second and third time, they’re able to time up your pitcher,” Wheelersburg coach Teresa Ruby said, after the game. “I think the kids settled in and got some good swings later in the game, thought we reached first time through.”

‘Burg compiled 11 hits in the six inning win, including team-highs by junior AndiJo Howard with three base knocks and five RBIs. Howard’s three-run home run — her fourth of the 2023 season — ended the Lady Trojans chances as it came with one out in the sixth.

Couple that with a three-hit, six strikeout performance in the circle with some heady plays by her defense helped them remain unbeaten in the third week of the regular season.

Wheelersburg also had home runs by senior Macee Eaton and sophomore Catie Boggs, with multi-hit days by that pair and junior catcher Haley Myers.

Freshman Ava Estep reached base three times — twice via walk and once on a hit-by-pitch.

“The first few times through the lineup I thought we handled them pretty well,” Portsmouth coach Kristin Bradshaw said, after the game. “Our defense was solid, they put the ball in play like we knew they were going to. I think Olivia did a good job hitting her spots and our defense did good making the plays.”

Portsmouth batters reached base three times via hit. Junior Emily Cheatham tallied a pair of base knocks and junior Ayonna Carr had the Lady Trojans first hit of the sixth inning.

Wheelersburg and Portsmouth played quite the clean defensive game as one Lady Pirate error in the top of the first inning was all that was committed.

‘Burg senior center fielder Kiera Kennard robbed Cheatham of a hit on the very first at-bat of the game when she made a diving catch in right center.

“They always say defense wins championships, we work hard on our fielding,” Ruby said. “Kiera out in center field, the plays she makes — she’s an amazing center fielder. It kind of gets forgotten about because of our offense, but she makes some great plays.”

Portsmouth falls to 5-1 with the loss. They’ll host Gallia Academy in a key Ohio Valley Conference game on Friday.

“Third OVC game, fifth day in a row playing,” Bradshaw said. “But I was glad to get out here and play tonight. Think it’s going to prepare us for Gallia tomorrow to get our third win in the league.”

Wheelersburg will host Oak Hill on Friday before facing Heath — a D-II state participant in 2022 — at Symmes Valley’s Valley of Thunder event.

“We’ve got a real competitve schedule,” Ruby said. “Went to Lincoln Co. (W.Va.) and played a really good team, have Heath on Saturday who was in the Division II state tournament. We loaded up and wanted to make sure we pushed ourselves for what we wanted to do. It’s one game at a time and making sure we’re building up to tournament time.”



Portsmouth 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 3 0

Wheelersburg 1 0 2 3 1 4 — 11 11 1

W: AndiJo Howard (W) 6IP, 1BB, 3H, 0ER, 6K; L: Olivia Dickerson (P) 5IP, 7ER, 7H, 2K, 1BB

Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

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