PORTSMOUTH — On Good Friday, it was simply a good day —albeit a bit cool weather-wise —for the Portsmouth High School softball squad.
That’s because, against the visiting Gallia Academy Blue Angels on Friday in a battle of 2-0 Ohio Valley Conference clubs, the Trojans amounted three innings of at least three runs on at least two hits —including a four-run four-hit fourth frame to truly blow the game open.
At that point, the Trojans doubled their runs total from four to eight —and eventually won with ease in a 12-3 output at the PHS Softball Complex.
Portsmouth plated at least one run in every at-bat but the third, when GAHS pitcher Taylor Mathie struck out the Trojan side.
Leading 4-2 in the fourth, though, the Trojans bounced back —erupting for four earned runs on three singles and a two-out bases-loaded bases-clearing double by Maddie Boren that made it 8-2.
They followed up in the fifth off Mathie with three more runs and three more hits, ultimately making it 11-3 on an RBI-double by Emily Cheatham, an RBI-single by Madison Ankrom, and an RBI-single by Olivia Dickerson.
In the sixth, the Trojans tacked on another earned run for their largest lead of the day —as with one out Katie Ankrom doubled to center, and Ayonna Carr singled to center to cross Ankrom for a dozen points.
But the Trojans did most of their 12-run, 13-hit damage with two outs, as only Madison Ankrom’s RBI-single in the second to make it 2-0 also occurred with one away.
Of the dozen runs, 11 were earned off Mathie —as a Dickerson fly ball was dropped in right field with two outs in the second, as the speedy leadoff Cheatham race home for the 4-0 lead on the Blue Angels’ only error.
For the 6-1 — and early 3-0 in the OVC — Trojans, it was nice to see the bats warm up as the temperatures went down on Friday —and following Thursday’s 11-0 loss at defending Division III state champion Wheelersburg.
Portsmouth put together some extra-base hits on hard-hit balls, finding spots of infield dirt or outfield grass against Mathie and Gallia Academy.
“We keep getting better with the bats every single inning we play. So that’s a good thing, and I keep telling them (Trojans) that hitting is contagious. Today I think we showed we can hit one-thru-nine,” said PHS coach Kristen Bradshaw. “We never let down. We’ve been working on swinging through the ball and our baserunning, taking that extra base when we can. I was really pleased with our bats tonight.”
The cleanup hitter Dickerson and Madison Ankrom each went 3-for-4 with three runs batted in, while Katie Ankrom, Boren and Carr each collected two hits.
Portsmouth’s plate patience persisted as well, as Mathie walked six Trojans —including Cheatham, Carr and Katie Born twice.
“That’s something we’ve talked about as well. We’re aggressive hitters which I love, but being selectively aggressive, and picking out great pitches that we want to hit,” continued Bradshaw.
The 12 runs on 13 hits was more than enough run support for Katie Ankrom, the Trojans’ freshman ace in the pitcher’s circle.
Ankrom allowed three earned runs on seven hits and only a third-inning walk to her counterpart Mathie, as the Blue Angels made it a 4-2 score with three consecutive one-out third-frame hits —a double by Jenna Harrison, a single by Addy Burke, and an RBI-single by Ava Angel that scored Harrison.
Burke then made it 4-2, scoring on Ankrom’s only wild pitch.
But Ankrom, who struck out five in facing the Blue Angels three times through, stranded Mathie —just as she did the opening two Blue Angel baserunners, which reached in the first and second on Portsmouth’s only errors.
Ankrom faced four Angels apiece in innings one and two, then retired Gallia Academy 1-2-3 in the fourth.
In the fifth, the guests made it 8-3 for their only other run and only other deficit of five runs or less —when Gabby Champlin blooped a leadoff single to right, then Angel tripled off the fence in right center to score her.
Angel and Emma Hammons both went 2-for-3, as Angel also was hit by a pitch —by Dickerson in the seventh.
Otherwise, Dickerson closed it out —inducing a Harrison fly ball to center to lead off, and back-to-back grounders by Burke and Mathie right back to her.
Meanwhile, Ankrom spent the late afternoon inducing a lot of flyball outs —or routine pop-outs to the infield.
“Katie has been doing great for us,” said Bradshaw. “She is getting ahead a lot in counts, she throws some really good pitches. I like the way she gets in there and she goes right at them. She threw a great game and then Olivia came in with the top of their lineup coming up in the seventh. She came and threw a good inning.”
A good seventh inning, proceeding five good stanzas for Portsmouth prior —and on Good Friday for another early-season OVC triumph.
“Beating Gallia, they are always solid in our league. They are always going to play hard and be scrappy. We did what we needed to do, which is put the ball in play and play hard and keep their runs down,” said Bradshaw.
The Trojans, which lost at Ironton on Monday 2-0, entered Tuesday’s tilt at non-league Northwest with an overall mark of now 6-2.
Portsmouth plays host to two more OVC opponents this week —versus Coal Grove on Wednesday and Fairland for Friday.
* * *
Gallia Academy 002 010 0 —3 7 1
Portsmouth 130 431 X —12 13 2
GAHS: Taylor Mathie 6IP, 12R, 11ER, 13H, 0HB, 6BB, 3WP, 7K, 37BF
PHS: Katie Ankrom 6IP, 3R, 3ER, 7H, 0HB, 1BB, 1WP, 5K, 27BF; Olivia Dickerson 1IP, 0R, 0ER, 0H, 1HB, 0BB, 0WP, 0K, 4BF
W —Katie Ankrom; L —Taylor Mathie
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2023 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved