In any contest, it’s all about putting out your best effort, no matter who the opponent is.
During the opening round of the American Legion Junior State Tournament in Lancaster, the Portsmouth Post 23 Junior Legion program did just that.
Cowle Post 151, however, proved to be too strong. Despite a gargantuan effort from Portsmouth to keep the Post 151 lead at a 4-1 count heading into the fifth inning, Post 23 fell in defeat to the eventual state champions by an 11-1 tally in a contest that was held at Beavers Field in Lancaster last Wednesday.
Despite the loss, Post 23 head coach Matt Miller was proud of the performance that the Post 23 juniors put together.
“I’m proud of how hard the boys played today and kept battling,” Miller said. “It was a 4-1 game going into the bottom of the fifth inning and the wheels fell off. That was a very good ball club that we played and the boys battled.”
West’s Cade Powell, who got the start during the contest, threw four efficient innings of baseball as Post 23 kept within striking distance of the powerful Post 151 lineup. Unfortunately, a seven-run fifth by Post 151 dashed Post 23’s hopes of a lengthy state tournament run.
“Cade threw the ball well,” Miller said. He just got a little tired in the fifth and wasn’t able to finish what he started. Braiden (Cooper) came in and threw strikes, but we just weren’t able to make plays. Offensively, we couldn’t get going and we had a few baserunning mistakes that cost us.”
Offensively, Powell, along with Minford’s Reid Shultz, led the way as the pair combined to go 4-for-4 on the day, with Shultz supplying Post 23’s lone run of the contest. East’s Tyler Winston (1-for-3) and Rock Hill’s Seth Nichols (1-for-2) rounded out the Portsmouth efforts.
With the loss, Post 23 finished the year 5-15. Despite the loss, Miller was proud of how Post 23 grew over the course of the season — and the effort on Wednesday certainly showed that in spades.
“This wasn’t the season that we all hoped for, but the boys got better this summer and played a lot of good teams and competed,” Miller said. “I hope that they continue to work hard and get better going forward.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @ColleyKevin7