PORTSMOUTH – Anytime a team has their pitching, defense, and offense performing at a very high level, they’re going to be a tough out. Facing a win-or-go home scenario, Portsmouth more than showcased how ready they were to begin postseason play.
A six run first inning, no base runners for Lynchburg-Clay for the first four innings, a no hit performance for senior ace Kylee Montgomery: all were key factors in the Trojans 10-0 five inning win over the Mustangs clinching their spot in Friday’s Division III sectional final against Leesburg Fairfield.
“This win means a lot,” said Trojans head coach Kristin Bradshaw following Tuesday’s win. “We have a lot of young players who this was their first time in the postseason. The energy coming into it, I think they were really excited to get started with this run. Kylee being in the circle, she wants this game more than anybody. She’s been working the last two months, she’s pitched probably 75% of our innings. She really stepped up these last couple weeks about the end of the season, this being her senior year, wanting to go out on top.”
Montgomery was lights out in her no hit effort Tuesday. Through four innings, no Lynchburg-Clay batter even sniffed the possibility of reaching base.
A big part of that was Montgomery placing pitches exactly where they needed to be with her control, as well as having an outstanding defensive effort from her eight fielders (minus one error) not including herself. The only Mustang batter to reach base did so with two outs in the top of the fifth inning on an error.
“It was really a great feeling,” Montgomery said following her no-hit effort. “My defense did a great job behind me tonight. It’s great to be able to get that win. This game has been my whole life since I was four years old, and I want to keep going until we get that very last win.”
“She’s throwing her best right now,” Bradshaw said of her ace pitcher. “She’s confident. Yesterday we won 1-0 over South Point where she pitched an outstanding game. You always say you want to be playing your best at the end of the season, and I think we are, and I think she’s a big part of it.”
Portsmouth got the offensive fire power started early and often in Monday’s win. The Trojans added six runs in their first frame of play thanks to a one out two RBI single by Jacqueline Bautista and a one out two RBI double by Shaya Kidder.
Another run would cross home plate in the bottom of the second thanks to a two out RBI single from Faith Phillips. Cassie Potts picked up a fielder’s choice RBI in the bottom of the fourth to extend the Trojans lead to 8-0 before Kyndal Kearns would earn an RBI double in the fifth and Faith Phillips would end the game in the bottom of the fifth with an RBI single.
“That’s something that we’ve talked about is how she’s bailed us out of some games when our bats weren’t there, but I think we had everything tonight,” Bradshaw said. “Our defense was there, Kylee was great, and our hitting was there. Anytime as a pitcher your offense can get those six runs early, that alleviates a lot of pressure for her and everybody.”
With Tuesday’s win, Portsmouth will advance in the Division III postseason tournament to face Leesburg-Fairfield in their sectional final Friday in Leesburg at 5:00 p.m. For Bradshaw, the most important thing moving forward with her team to prepare for Friday’s contest is how important these next two days of practice will be to help in preparation for a strong Lions squad.
“We haven’t had two practices in a row probably since the beginning of the season. We’ve been going four, five, and even sometimes six days a week with games. It’ll be nice to get back to some of the fundamentals, keep working to make those routine plays even though we made all of those tonight except one. I think it’ll be good just to relax and get back into those things we need to work on leading up to Friday’s game.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved