Clay, ‘Burg ranked inside top-five of softball coaching polls

PHS tennis grabs victory

By Kevin Colley -

Clay, Wheelersburg at top of OHSFSCA State Poll

Behind their continued excellence on the softball diamond, the Clay Panthers’ softball program and the Wheelersburg Pirates’ softball program obtained top-five positions in the opening version of the 2018 OHSFSCA State Polls that were released on Monday evening.

Wheelersburg, who obtained the No. 2 position in the Division III order behind Warren Champion — who is the defending state champion in the division — garnered 70 votes and two first-place marks, sitting just behind Warren Champion’s 78 and six.

Despite the overhaul that the roster underwent from last year to this season, Wheelersburg is an impressive 9-0 — including a perfect 7-0 in the SOC II realm — with two victories each over Minford and Oak Hill, a mercy-rule defeat over a well-respected Vanceburg (Ky.) Lewis County club, and a very impressive 3-0 victory over Harrodsburg (Ky.) Mercer County in a contest that was held as part of the Tri-State Showcase on Saturday in Russell, Ky. Kentucky operates under a regional system for all sports expect football, cross country, and track, but Mercer County’s size would have the Lady Titans as a Division I school in the State of Ohio in all sports except football, where Mercer County would be a Division II unit.

Boo Sturgill has been sensational as a freshman from the three-hole, while Sydney Spence has taken on a huge role in filling in for the injured Sarah Claxon as the unit’s No. 1 starter en route to enhancing the overall pitching rotation. Fellow freshman Laney Eller, sophomores Mallory Bergan and Addi Collins, Claxon, Christen Risner, Taylor Fannin, Mia Darnell, and Bella Williams are among the names who have contributed in a heavy fashion for the Pirates in 2018.

Clay, who sports an 11-3 overall record, claimed the No. 4 position in the Division IV realm. The Lady Panthers, who are a perfect 8-0 in SOC I conference action, garnered 52 points and a first-place vote in the first poll of the year. Rockford Parkway leads the Division IV Poll with 83 points and two first-place votes, while Jeromesville Hillsdale (78 points, six first-place) and Bradford (55 points, one first-place) sit just behind. Strasburg-Franklin rounded out the top-five with 43 points and a first-place vote.

Jason Gearheart’s unit is led by a strong order from top to bottom, which features as much speed as it does power. Leadoff hitter Shaelyn Vassar, slap-hitter Lila Brown, and Kat Cochran are excellent contact hitters and strong on the basepaths, while Jensen Warnock, Cassidy Wells, Julia Swain, Hannah Oliver, and Megan Bazler can all hit for power. Eliza Collins and Chloi Hayslip are two additional strong batting hands and fielding arms in the order, while Shaley Munion, MeKenzie Loper, Sophia Gatti, Abbie Ware, and Hailey Wiltshire hold promise at the plate and on the basepaths as well. Wheelersburg transfer Ryanna Bobst only adds to a unit that is as deep and talented as any around.

In seven of their 11 victories, Clay has won by a mercy-rule count, including an impressive 14-3 victory over Piketon in five innings last Thursday. The Lady Panthers have outscored their Division IV brethren by a massive 121-10 count en route to winning each of its 10 games against its divisional foes in 2018.

Boll wins Friday Night Football Ohio Magazine Photographer of the Year Award

On Monday afternoon, Wheelersburg native Ruth Boll was awarded as the Friday Night Football (or FNF) Ohio Magazine Photographer of the Year Award for her snapshot of Xander Carmichael’s state championship winning jump pass to Tanner Holden on fourth down in the overtime session during the 2017 Division V State Championship Game against Pemberville Eastwood.

Boll, a dedicated photographer for not only the programs encompassing Wheelersburg High School, but in Scioto County, has been lauded for her photography around the region and state in all sports. Boll also writes for The Scioto Voice, and has contributed as a freelance photographer for the Daily Times on occasion, as well.

Her site, which is, allows student-athletes and their families to download countless photos for free. Boll also helps with putting together the end-of-the-year CDs that many Wheelersburg families have come to enjoy.

Thursday (4/13)


Portsmouth 4, Ironton 1

Behind another strong outing, the Portsmouth Trojans’ tennis program was able to pick up a 4-1 victory over the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ tennis program on Thursday evening in Ironton.

Logan Carter, who has starred all season at the No. 1 singles slot for Portsmouth, collected a strong victory over Aiden White by winning 12 of his 15 sets to claim victory at the position, while Ethan Haas continued his own strong play by claiming a 7-5 victory in the opening set over Ironton’s Jaxson Pleasant before pulling away to win by a 6-1 margin in the second set.

While Ironton’s Ali White defeated Adrian Soard, 6-1, 6-0 to draw the Fighting Tigers within a 2-1 margin, the doubles units proceeded to have a field day as Allison Douthat and Luke Rodbell, along with Katie Fannin and Savannah Spence, claimed 6-2, 6-0 and 6-1, 6-4 victories to shut the door on Ironton’s hopes of a comeback.

No. 1 singles — Logan Carter (Portsmouth) def. Aiden White (Ironton) 6-2, 6-1

No. 2 singles — Ethan Haas (Portsmouth) def. Jaxson Pleasant (Ironton) 7-5, 6-1

No. 3 singles — Ali White (Ironton) def. Adrian Soard (Portsmouth) 6-1, 6-0

No. 1 doubles — Allison Douthat/Luke Rodbell (Portsmouth) def. Sierra Vallance/Elena Wilson (Ironton) 6-2, 6-0

No. 2 doubles — Katie Fannin/Savannah Spence (Portsmouth) def. Todd Davidson and Lexi Arnett (Ironton) 6-1, 6-4


New Boston 13, Green 3 (F/5)

Behind 10 hits and a strong 3-for-4 day at the plate from Sammy Oiler, the New Boston Tigers’ softball program was able to claim victory as New Boston defeated Green, 13-3, in a contest that was played in New Boston on Friday evening.

Oiler, a do-it-all talent like most of the student-athletes on the Lady Tigers’ roster, added a double, an RBI, and three runs scored to the table. Taylen Hickman (2-for-4, three RBI, run scored) and Peyton Helphinstine (2-for-3, walk, four RBI, run scored) all contributed with multi-hit performances, with Hickman throwing four innings of three-hit baseball while striking out three and allowing just one earned run to cross home plate.

Tasha Poole (1-for-3, walk, RBI, run scored), Lexus Oiler (1-for-3, walk, RBI), Mariah Buckley (1-for-4, walk, RBI, run scored), Brooklyn Hoskins (three walks, three runs scored), Morgan Rawlins (walk, run scored), and Ali Hamilton (RBI, run scored) all had solid performances in the winning outcome.

Green was led by Kori Derifield and Mac Carver, who each went 1-for-3 with an RBI in the contest, while Cass Kellogg (1-for-1, walk, stolen base, run scored) and Rachael Cline (1-for-3) added a hit apiece for the Lady ‘Cats. Charli Blevins (two walks, stolen base, run scored) and Ava Jenkins (two walks, stolen base, run scored) rounded out the Green effort.

PHS tennis grabs victory

By Kevin Colley