Over the years, Portsmouth Post 23 and Hillsboro Post 129 have been a part of some tighly contested affairs over the years.
On Wednesday evening, that proved to be no different at Branch Rickey Park as the pair took part in two well-played contests across the South Central Ohio League (SCOL), with Post 23 recovering from a 3-0 defeat in the opening affair to take home a 3-1 victory in the second bout.
Hillsboro 3, Portsmouth 0 (F/8)
In the opening contest, Post 23 battled valiantly as the boys in blue took Post 129 to extra innings in a tightly-contested affair at Branch Rickey Park. Ultimately, three runs in the top of the eighth frame by Post 129 made the difference in the pitcher’s duel.
Wheelersburg’s Trey Carter, in his second start for Post 23, put together an excellent effort on the hill by allowing just two hits in seven and one-third innings. Carter struck out nine batters and walked only three for a 3-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio, but did not obtain the decision in the 3-0 defeat.
“Trey threw the ball very well today,” East head coach Matt Miller said. “He kept them off balance and really controlled the zone. He started to get a little tired toward the end, but that’s on me for leaving him in too long. Bradley (Gee) came in in a tough spot and battled. They were able to get a couple hits to push through a couple runs, but he battled.”
Offensively, Portsmouth was able to spray around six hits around the Branch Rickey confines, but weren’t able to push across any runs during the contest. East’s Drew Lowe went 2-for-3, while Wheelersburg’s Evan Dahm went 1-for-3 with a double. Carter (1-for-2), Green’s Tanner Kimbler (1-for-4), and South Webster’s Gee (1-for-1) rounded out the Post 23 efforts in the opening affair.
“We had plenty of chances to dent the scoreboard, but were never able to come up with the clutch hit,” Miller said. “We have to start breaking through in those situations for us to be successful.”
Portsmouth 3, Hillsboro 1
In the second contest, however, Post 23 turned the tables on Post 129, and as a result, claimed its fourth win of the year over Hillsboro in five tries, 3-1, behind the efforts of Valley’s Jared Morrow and a pair of RBI base knocks from Gee and Wheelersburg’s Connor Mullins.
Morrow, who has been effective as a starter or in relief during different portions of the Legion ball campaign for Post 23, racked up a complete game outing in the nightcapper by allowing just six hits and striking out two. Morrow only walked a single batter during the contest.
“Jared threw well today,” Miller said. “He hasn’t pitched in a few weeks and to come in and throw the way he did was outstanding.”
Like the initial effort, Post 23 also collected six hits, but in a more timely manner and from the front of the lineup to the back of it. Minford’s Ethan Lauder notched a critical triple that allowed Gee to drive in Lauder with his RBI base knock, while Morrow scored off of the efforts of Mullins’ base knock. In addition to Lauder, Gee, Morrow, and Mullins, who combined to go 4-for-8 with a triple, two RBI, and three runs scored, Kimbler and Wheelersburg’s Jaydren Guthrie went 1-for-3 and 1-for-2, respectively, to lead Post 23 to the victory.
“We hit the ball a little better this game and were able to come up with the clutch hits to drive runners in,” Miller said. “We have to continue that trend.”
With the split, Post 23 improves to 8-13 on the season and is 2-5 in SCOL league play. Thursday’s contest against Ashland Post 76 was cancelled, so Portsmouth will end up having a four-day layoff before playing at SCOL rival Chillicothe Post 62 on Monday evening. Post 23 will then return to Branch Rickey Park next Thursday for a contest against another SCOL opponent in Circleville Post 134, which will commence at 6 p.m.
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7