Softball toruney preview: 4th edition

By Derrick Webb -

Wheelersburg junior Sydney Spence and the Pirates make their postseason debut Friday night in hosting Meigs.

Wheelersburg junior Sydney Spence and the Pirates make their postseason debut Friday night in hosting Meigs.

Photo courtesy of Jenny Campbell

During postseason baseball and softball play, our staff will publish previews that give a breakdown of each matchup the day of the game.

Meigs (13-15) at Wheelersburg (19-2)

Anyone with a brain understands how much of a favorite Wheelersburg is in this game. But the Pirates have to be careful not to look ahead and focus on the task at hand … beating Meigs.

Meigs advanced into the sectional semifinal by handing South Point a 12-4 loss earlier this week. The Marauders have now won four straight games and have used their bats to do the dirty work during that winning streak.

An underdog that’s clicking on all cylinders at this time of the year can be dangerous. Mara Hall, Taylor Swartz and Katie Hawkins led the Marauders’ charge against South Point and they’ll look to do the same against Wheelersburg.

Having said that, whether the Pirates put Sydney Spence or Sarah Claxon in the circle doesn’t really matter. Both are solid, both are talented and both should give Meigs fits in the batter’s box. With a solid defense behind them, Spence or Claxon should pitch well.

Then, of course, there’s Boo Sturgill, Laney Eller, Christen Risner, Mallory Bergan and so on and so forth at the plate to give their pitchers run support. Stranger things have happened but if Meigs can pull an upset against Wheelersburg, it’d be one of the biggest this season. The Pirates simply need to stay focused on what they can control and do what they do best.

Zane Trace (14-12) at Minford (15-8)

Minford easily disposed of North Adams Tuesday evening, beating the Green Devils by an 18-0 final. The Pioneers, on the other hand, struggled with West for five innings until finally pulling away late to earn a 10-3 win over the Senators.

On paper, the Falcons are the better team … especially considering Zane Trace’s injury issues in the pitcher’s circle. Having said that, sophomore Alexis Guffey threw just fine against the Senators Tuesday. Guffey won’t blow you away with a fastball but she will hit her spots and tends to keep hitters off-balance well. A change in speed could spell trouble for Minford.

At the top of the lineup, the Pioneers are strong with Evie Bennett, Guffey, and Brianna Fetters leading the way. They’ll play small ball, they’re aggressive and pressure will be applied to Minford’s defense all night long. If the Falcons play soundly, they’ll have the upper hand.

Minford showed what it’s capable offensively in Tuesday’s win. If Zane Trace gives away free bases, the Pioneers are in trouble. For Minford, the key has to be staying disciplined at the plate. The rest will take care of itself.

Northwest (10-13) at Westfall (21-4)

After beating Adena 11-3 on Tuesday and claiming revenge for an earlier season loss to those Warriors, Northwest will travel to Westfall Friday evening for a matchup with Westfall.

The Mustangs have been a mainstay atop the softball leaderboards this year, and have been a powerhouse for quite some time now in the Scioto Valley Conference and Southeast District. While going 14-0 in league play, Westfall has also journeyed through a tough non-league schedule against the likes of Lakewood, Lancaster, Groveport Madison, etc.

Westfall’s attack is led by pitcher Marcy Dudgeon, who sports a sparkling 1.53 ERA in the circle alongside 19 wins. She’s also no slouch at the plate, batting .537 with 22 RBIs at the top of the lineup. Dudgeon is joined by talented hitters like Liz Stonerock, who has a team-high 35 RBIs, Sami Tackett, Ayzia Fullen and Josie Williams. That list could go on and on.

As for Northwest, the Mohawks have been playing well as of late. Behind Laiken Rice, Addi Newman, Jaclyn Burchett and Lexi Throckmorton, Northwest has won seven of its last 11 contests. In their 11-3 win over the Warriors, Lexi Lute was 3-for-4 at the dish with six RBIs, two runs and a triple while Burchett homered and drove in two of her own.

Northwest needs more of the same if they want to keep up with Westfall’s high-powered offense.

And they’ll have to do so against Dudgeon, who’s made a living off getting outs this year.

Portsmouth @ Fairfield

Coming off of senior Kylee Montgomery’s no-hit performance Monday in the Trojans 10-0 win over Lynchburg-Clay, Kristin Bradshaw’s group will travel to Leesburg to take on the second seeded Lions, regular season champions in the SHAC during 2019.

In fact, Fairfield has won the SHAC for the last four years. The Lady Lions enter Friday’s sectional final against the Trojans at 19-1 after finishing 12-0 in SHAC play in 2019.

For the Trojans to come out on top in a tough road test, it’s going to take another strong pitching performance from senior ace Kylee Montgomery and her Trojans defense. Taking down the second seed in the Chillicothe #2 regional will be no small task for Bradshaw’s young Trojans. But, then again, when it comes to postseason play, no achievement ever comes unearned.

Wheelersburg junior Sydney Spence and the Pirates make their postseason debut Friday night in hosting Meigs. junior Sydney Spence and the Pirates make their postseason debut Friday night in hosting Meigs. Photo courtesy of Jenny Campbell

By Derrick Webb

© 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

© 2019 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved