Roundup: Clay, Valley win walkoff thrillers

SW scores big win over Oak Hill

By Kevin Colley -

Thursday (4/26)


South Webster 7, Oak Hill 4

In a major upset, the South Webster Jeeps’ softball program, behind three runs in the seventh inning, was able to come out with a huge road victory as South Webster claimed a 7-4 win over the Oak Hill Oaks’ softball program on Thursday evening in Oak Hill.

South Webster got another strong two-way performance from Gwen Messer, who threw a complete game seven-hitter while striking out seven in the circle, and obtained a 2-for-4 day at the dish with a walk, a double, three stolen bases, and two runs scored to lead the Lady Jeeps.

Mack Keller, Emma Bailey, Baylee Cox, and Taylor Rawlins also collected multi-hit performances on Thursday evening, with Keller going 3-for-3 with a walk, two RBI, and a stolen base, Bailey going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, a stolen base, and a run scored, Cox going 3-for-4 with a double, an RBI, and two runs scored, and Rawlins obtaining a 3-for-4 day at the plate with a stolen base and a run scored.

Brianna Smith (1-for-5, double) and Kaylee Hadinger (1-for-4) rounded out the fantastic effort for the Lady Jeeps.


Minford 4, Valley 3

In a spirited contest between two rivals, the Minford Falcons’ softball program was able to edge the Valley Indians’ softball program by a 4-3 count in a make-up SOC II bout on Thursday evening in Lucasville.

Madison Sifford (2-for-3, two RBI) led Minford at the dish while Brittani Wolfenbarker and Kiersten Hale each went 1-for-3, with the former notching a double, driving in a run, and scoring run from the No. 3 slot. Emily Shoemaker (walk, run scored) and Zoe Doll (game-winning run) led the Lady Falcons.

Valley was led by Marissa Markins, Faith Brown, and Maddi Kuhn, who each went 1-for-3 at the plate. Markins drove in two runs with her sixth-inning base hit, while Kirbi Sommers drove in the third and final run on a 5-3 RBI groundout.

Halee Stone (walk, sacrifice, run scored), Margaret Caldwell (walk), Brooklyn Weeks (walk), and Madison Williams (sacrifice) all contributed to Valley’s offensive showing.

Green 19, Ironton St. Joseph 1 (F/5)

Behind seven multi-hit performances and a strong two-way effort from Ava Jenkins in the circle, the Green Bobcats’ softball program was able to claim a 19-1 victory over Ironton St. Joseph in five innings on Thursday evening in Franklin Furnace.

Rachael Cline, who led the way with her 2-for-3 performance, belted a home run out of the park en route to going 2-for-3 with a walk, three RBI, and three runs scored on the day, while Jenkins, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk, four RBI, and two runs scored, allowed just three hits and struck out four en route to claiming the victory in the circle.

Kori Derifield, who went 3-for-4 with a double, two RBI, and a run scored, and Cass Kellogg, who added a 3-for-4 day at the dish with a double, two RBI, and three runs scored, were huge, as were Kame Sweeney (3-for-3, walk, three RBI, three runs scored), Cass Kellogg (3-for-4, two RBI, three runs scored), and Charli Blevins (3-for-4, two RBI, stolen base, three runs scored).

MacKenzie Carver (1-for-4, run scored) rounded out the outstanding offensive showing for Green.

Wheelersburg 12, Northwest 0 (F/5)

Behind a complete game two-hitter from Sarah Claxon and 15 hits from nine different players, the Wheelersburg Pirates’ softball program was able to obtain a 12-0 victory over the Northwest Mohawks’ softball program in an SOC II contest that was held on Thursday evening in McDermott.

After battling to a 0-0 deadlock over the opening inning of play, Wheelersburg (15-0, 9-0 SOC II) proceeded to score in every inning after that as the Lady Pirates accumulated excellent offensive production from the top of its order.

Overall, the trio of Christen Risner, Taylor Fannin, and Boo Sturgill were tremendous at the top of the lineup, as Risner (2-for-4, run scored), Fannin (3-for-4, double, stolen base, two runs scored), and Sturgill (2-for-3, home run, walk, two stolen bases, three RBI, and three runs scored) led the Wheelersburg contingent.

Addi Collins (2-for-3, walk, two doubles, stolen base, RBI) and Laney Eller (2-for-2, walk, two stolen bases, two RBI) also obtained multi-hit outings at the plate, while Mallory Bergan (1-for-3, walk, double, two stolen bases, RBI), Sydney Whitman (1-for-1, stolen base, RBI), and Mia Darnell (1-for-2, walk, stolen base, RBI) all obtained hits on the day.

Claxon, who added in a 1-for-3 day at the dish with two RBI, struck out nine batters and walked none to cap off an outstanding two-way performance, while Bella Williams (walk, stolen base, run scored) and Jaiden Missler (run scored) all contributed in a strong manner in the victory.

Northwest was led by Elysia Cyrus (1-for-1) and Lexi Throckmorton (1-for-2).

Western 11, New Boston 8

Despite obtaining two hits from Mariah Buckley, along with a double and two RBI from Ali Hamilton, the New Boston Tigers’ softball program fell to the Western Indians’ softball program, 11-8, on Thursday evening at Millbrook Park in New Boston.

Buckley, who went 2-for-4 with a run scored, and Hamilton, who obtained a 1-for-3 outing with a double, two RBI, and a run scored, were potent at the plate and on the basepaths as the duo also added a stolen base to the table. Sammy Oiler, Lexus Oiler, and Tasha Poole all went 1-for-4 with a run scored — with the latter also stealing a base — to round out the players that obtained a hit during the contest.

Peyton Helphinstine (walk, RBI, run scored), Kaylee Stone (two walks), Shelby Easter (run scored), and Taylen Hickman (run scored, complete game in the circle) all contributed for New Boston.


Clay 4, Notre Dame 3 (F/11)

Behind a resilient effort from Keith Cottle on the hill and a walkoff double by his younger brother, Clay, who led the team with three hits, the Clay Panthers’ baseball program was able to claim a huge 4-3 victory over the Notre Dame Titans’ baseball program in a thrilling SOC I bout between the two rivals on Thursday evening.

The elder Cottle, a do-it-all senior, threw 10 strong innings on the hill by allowing just two hits and striking out seven batters while walking only two for a 3.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio as Clay emerged from the crowd with the massive win. Both of the Cottle boys ultimately combined to go 4-for-10 at the plate, with Clay going 3-for-5 with a double, an RBI, and a run scored to head the charge. They were aided by a great play from Jaden Jessee, who ran down a lined shot to right center field when Notre Dame loaded the bases with two men out in the top of the seventh inning to continue the game.

“Keith pitched a great game,” Clay head coach Marc Cottle said. “We took him out in the seventh inning, and went with Reece (Whitley) on a limited pitch count so that he could pitch tomorrow. We had to bring Keith back in, and he threw the ball really well over the last four innings.”

Behind the Cottle brothers, Jessee (1-for-5, RBI, stolen base) and Evan Woods (2-for-5, double, RBI, three stolen bases) all contributed, while Whitley (1-for-5, run scored, scoreless inning in short relief), Dakota Dodds (1-for-4, RBI), McGwire Garrison (1-for-4, run scored), and Jared Conkel (stolen base) all contributed to the Clay output.

“I can’t say enough about how our young team battled tonight,” Cottle said.

For Notre Dame, C.J. Corns proved to be absolutely outstanding for the Titans as the senior struck out an incredible 17 batters while walking none in a virtuoso performance, even for his lofty standards. Corns gave up eight hits but only allowed two earned runs to cross. Caleb Nichols throw two innings of two-hit, three-strikeout baseball in relief.

At the plate, Corns (1-for-3, walk, RBI, two stolen bases, run scored) and Nichols (1-for-5, RBI) spearheaded the activity for Notre Dame, while Tyler Speas (1-for-4, double) and Gabe Pettay (1-for-5, double, stolen base, run scored) also obtained a hit at the dish.

Austin Kammler (walk, run scored) rounded out the Titans’ brigade.

Green 7, Eastern 3

Behind a complete game five-hitter from Bryce Ponn, the Green Bobcats’ baseball program matched Clay’s walkoff victory with a huge win of its own as Green notched a 7-3 victory over the Eastern Eagles’ baseball program on Thursday evening in Franklin Furnace.

Ponn, who struck out nine en route to moving to 4-0 on the bump, remained steady and smooth on the hill despite four Green errors as the junior only hit one batter and didn’t allow an earned run. Ponn, who was hit by two pitches himself, drove in a run while going 1-for-2 at the plate to aid the Green offensive attack.

“Bryce really pitched well tonight,” Green head coach Dan McDavid said. “Our defense made an uncharacteristic four errors tonight, but Bryce really bared down to pick his teammates up.

Outside of Ponn, the top of the order continued to play in a strong manner as Tanner Kimbler went 3-for-4, Tayte Carver went 2-for-3 with two stolen bases, two runs scored, and a walk, and Rylee Maynard obtained a 2-for-4 outing at the dish with two RBI as the one-through-three hitters in the order each obtained multi-hit outings. Eli Webb was also key in the strong performance for the Bobcats, as Webb’s 2-for-3 mark with an RBI helped turn the lineup over effectively with Green ultimately answering an early 1-0 Eastern advantage by scoring all seven of its runs during the first four frames.

Hayden Whitis (1-for-2, RBI, two runs scored) rounded out another strong effort for Green, who improved to 11-2 overall and 8-1 in the SOC I realm.

“After the tough loss (on Wednesday evening against Clay), we picked ourselves up and swung a much more potent bat tonight. (Dalton) Tomlison pitched well, but we were able to get to him a bit early,” McDavid said. “Rylee has played so well this year, and led our offense tonight with two big 0-2 count RBI hits. In the fifth inning, they came at us, but Levi Singleton made an outstanding diving stop at third, and threw out an Eastern runner from his knees. Levi flashed the leather well tonight with a couple of highlight-reel plays.”

Valley 3, Ironton St. Joseph 2

Behind strong two-way play from Jesse Jones, multi-hit performances from Jones, Andrew Andronis, and Brecken Williams, and a walkoff hit from Cayton Ruby, the Valley Indians’ baseball program was able to claim a 3-2 victory over the Ironton St. Joseph Flyers’ baseball program on Thursday evening in Lucasville.

Jones, who put together a gargantuan performance on the mound by throwing six and two-thirds innings of four-hit baseball, struck out 11 and walked only two for a 5.5-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio. Jones also went 2-for-4 at the plate with an RBI to aid the Valley offense in its victory, while Andronis also went 2-for-4 with an RBI while also scoring a run for the Indians.

When Jones started to lose a bit of his command, Jake Ashkettle was there to save the day for Valley as Ashkettle, with the bases loaded and two men gone, forced a pop up behind home plate to end the top of the seventh unharmed. The utility athlete ultimately went 1-for-4 with a run scored at the plate.

“Jesse was awesome on the mound, but ran out of gas in the seventh,” Valley head coach Nolan Crabtree said. “They only had two hits until the seventh inning, and he struck out 11. Jake came in with the bases loaded and two outs in the seventh, and was able to induce a pop out to the catcher en route to coming up big in a pressure situation.”

In the bottom half of the seventh, Valley, needing a big hit to break through, got just that from Cayton Ruby. Ruby, who finished with a 1-for-3 performance at the plate with an RBI and a sacrifice, delivered a two-out base knock in the final frame to score Ashkettle as the Indians followed up its big win over Wheelersburg with a victory in walkoff fashion on Thursday.

“(Cayton) Ruby came up huge with the walkoff single in the bottom of the seventh inning,” Crabtree said. “He’s had a really good week.”

Williams (2-for-3), Kayden Mollette (1-for-4, run scored), Tucker Williams (1-for-2, walk, sacrifice), Jared Morrow (1-for-2, walk) and Tanner Cunningham (walk) all starred for Valley, who faced Wheelersburg in Lucasville on Friday evening.

“We hit the ball hard again tonight, but didn’t come up with the timely hits or the extra base hits that we had last night,” Crabtree said. “The defense and pitching were once again solid and the reason that we won the game. We have to get more than three runs when we have 11 hits, three walks, and two hit-by-pitches.”

Ironton 9, Portsmouth 8

Despite putting up a crooked number in the fifth inning by scoring five runs, the Portsmouth Trojans’ baseball program — — who led by a 6-5 tally after five innings and an 8-7 tally after six frames of work, fell by a 9-8 margin to the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ baseball program on Thursday evening in Ironton.

Portsmouth was led by Isaac Kelly, who — one day before signing with the West Virginia State University football program on Friday afternoon — struck out 10 on the mound in six and two-thirds of an inning and went 2-for-3 at the plate with a a walk, a double, an RBI, two stolen bases, and two runs scored.

Behind Kelly, Reese Johnson followed by obtaining a two-run homer in his 1-for-4 day at the dish with a run scored, while Jack Workman (1-for-3, walk, stolen base, run scored) and William Sturgill (1-for-4, run scored) added hits of their own for the Trojans.

Bryce Wallace (two walks, stolen base, two runs scored), Devin Jackson (two walks, run scored), Zach Kinney (two walks, run scored), Zach Bayse (walk), and Michael Duncan (two RBI) rounded out the Trojans’ showing.


Minford 3, Ironton 2

Behind strong play from its singles players, the Minford Falcons’ tennis program was able to claim a 3-2 victory over the Ironton Fighting Tigers’ tennis program on Thursday evening in Ironton.

Caden Wilcox and Josh Wiehle, who have been in the No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions all year, claimed 24 of the first 28 sets en route to taking home victories over Jaxson Pleasant and Aiden White, respectively, to get Minford on the right track and put Ironton on the ropes. Zac Hammond then sealed Ironton’s fate by claiming a 7-5, 6-0 victory over Ali White to obtain the match victory.

While the doubles units of Sam Wiehle and Andy Crank, along with Teegan Clarkson and Landon Burchett, fell in their matches, the teams ultimately claimed seven set victories to round out the evening for the Falcons.

No. 1 singles — Caden Wilcox (Minford) def. Jaxson Pleasant (Ironton) 6-1, 6-1

No. 2 singles — Josh Wiehle (Minford) def. Aiden White (Ironton) 6-1, 6-1

No. 3 singles — Zac Hammond (Minford) def. Ali White (Ironton) 7-5, 6-0

No. 1 doubles — Elena Wilson/Todd Davidson (Ironton) def. Sam Wiehle/Andy Crank (Minford) 6-2, 6-4

No. 2 doubles — Sierra Vallance/Ethan Bennett (Ironton) def. Teegan Clarkson/Landon Burchett (Minford) 6-0, 6-1

Portsmouth 3, Notre Dame 2

In a tightly-contested match between two rivals, the Portsmouth Trojans’ tennis program, behind straight-set victories from Logan Carter, Ethan Haas, and the No. 2 doubles unit of Katie Fannin and Parker Johnson, prevailed by a 3-2 margin over the Notre Dame Titans’ tennis program on Thursday evening.

Carter and Haas, who have starred all season from their No. 1 and No. 2 singles positions, took home each of the 24 sets available in their matches against Connor Madden and Alston Linn, respectively, to quickly allow Portsmouth to jump out to a 2-0 match lead.

Notre Dame, however, had other plans.

At the No. 3 singles position, Kyle McGraw collected a hard-fought 6-3, 6-4 victory over Adrian Soard, while the No. 1 doubles unit of Joyce Zheng and Spencer Wilcox continued that momentum by defeating Allison Douthat and Luke Rodbell in a thrilling back-and-forth match, winning 6-4, 2-6, 10-8 to square up the match at two apiece.

However, with the match hanging in the balance, the duo of Fannin and Johnson proved to be too much as the pair defeated Karli Boland and Lexi Graf by 6-1, 6-1 marks to put Portsmouth over the top in the match.

No. 1 singles — Logan Carter (Portsmouth) def. Connor Madden (Notre Dame) 6-0, 6-0

No. 2 singles — Ethan Haas (Portsmouth) def. Alston Linn (Notre Dame) 6-0, 6-0

No. 3 singles — Kyle McGraw (Notre Dame) def. Adrian Soard (Portsmouth) 6-3, 6-4

No. 1 doubles — Joyce Zheng/Spencer Wilcox def. Allison Douthat/Luke Rodbell (Portsmouth) 6-4, 2-6, 10-8

No. 2 doubles — Katie Fannin/Parker Johnson (Portsmouth) def. Karli Boland/Lexi Graf (Notre Dame) 6-1, 6-1

SW scores big win over Oak Hill

By Kevin Colley