Despite losing their first three games of the season, the Portsmouth Post 23 American Legion baseball program showed a great deal of fight and promise in each of its three losses as Post 23 battled Hillsboro Post 129, Chillicothe Post 62, and Circleville Post 134 to margins of three runs or less in each of the first three contests that the unit played over the past week.
Hillsboro Post 129 6, Portsmouth Post 23 4
Even in a 6-4 loss to Hillsboro Post 129, several individuals shined with strong efforts as Post 23 showed early strength from a hitting standpoint. Athan Temponeras led Post 23 by going 3-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, while Jarrett Stamper and Reid Shultz each went 2-for-4, with the former scoring a run and the latter producing an RBI in their own multi-hit efforts.
In addition to the trio, Jesse Jones was quite effective on the mound, and gave Portsmouth a chance to win by giving up just six hits over six full innings of work. Jones also struck out three en route to a quality outing.
“I thought that Jesse threw the ball well (on Tuesday),” Post 23 head coach Matt Miller said. “He stayed in the zone all night. We had a couple of mistakes defensively that hurt us, but it’s the first game and I know that we will get better. We hit the ball well, but just left too many runners on base, and that bit us in the end. I’m really excited about this team and what we can do this year.”
Chillicothe Post 62 4, Portsmouth Post 23 1
As with Tuesday evening, the effectiveness of the pitching staff for Post 23 was certainly in place as Tanner Kimbler and Jake Ashkettle combined to allow just two earned runs while striking out four over six innings of work. Kimbler, who got the start, threw five innings and struck out three while Ashkettle added a strikeout in his lone inning of work. However, other than a hit apiece in three trips from Kimbler and Jarrett Stamper, Portsmouth couldn’t get the offense rolling in a 4-1 loss to a rock solid Post 62 program.
“We didn’t hit the ball as well (on Wednesday), but I’m still proud and excited about the way that we battled,” Miller said. “We had a few opportunities early to plate a couple of additional runs, but we just didn’t come through. Defensively, we still had a couple of mistakes that hurt us, but I know that we will work to get to where we need to be.”
Circleville Post 134 12, Portsmouth Post 23 10
On Thursday, the bats for Post 23 came alive in a strong hitting performance that featured four multi-hit efforts, especially during the seventh inning, where Portsmouth rallied from a 10-5 deficit to tie the score at 10-all in the top half of the frame. Post 134 ultimately won the affair by scoring a pair of walkoff runs in the bottom half of the seventh, but promising performances such as Will Darling’s 3-for-4 effort at the plate with a double, two RBI, and two runs scored, along with the efforts of Ethan Lauder, who went 2-for-3 with a double, a RBI, and two runs scored, Tanner Kimbler, who went 2-for-4 with a RBI and a run scored, and Tyler Winston, who went 2-for-4 with a RBI, led the charge for Portsmouth, who collected 14 hits as a team.
“I’m proud of the way that we battled (on Thursday),” Miller said. “We were down by five runs in the seventh inning and scored five to tie it. The boys really fought hard. Then, to lose it on a walkoff is a tough one to take. Still, I will take 14 hits every time that we play. We had a couple of mistakes defensively that hurt us, but it’s early and I’m excited about what we can do this year.”
Reach Kevin Colley at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930 OR on Twitter @KColleyPDT