Portsmouth West’s 10-12 Little League Softball team claimed a district title Tuesday July 2nd in the championship game of the District 11 Tournament over Wheelersburg by a score of 8-4. Tuesday’s win clinches West’s spot in the State Tournament to be held this July 6th-10th at Wheelersburg’s Little League fields.
“This is definitely a big deal for us,” said West head coach Shad Ford. “We’re in a talented district with several good teams, and we knew we had work to do. We set a goal at the beginning of this season to win the district title, and these players worked extremely hard to achieve this goal. Many, many hours were dedicated on and off the field to prepare for the district tournament.”
West started their scoring early in the top of the first inning of Tuesday’s district championship. Kyndall Ford, Ford’s daughter and the pitcher for the Senators, scored the first run of the game after Myla Mead reached first base on an error. Brooklyn Pitts delivered also in the first inning with a two RBI single which scored Kate Rollins and Emma Sayre.
In the top of the second inning, West extended their lead to 5-0 on a two RBI single by Kate Rollins which scored Erica Whisman and Emily Moore.
Wheelersburg scored two runs in the bottom of the third thanks to a two run double by Ashley Spence which cut West’s lead to 5-2.
The game would remain scoreless until the top of the fifth inning in which West would reextend their lead to 8-2 thanks to an RBI single by Myla Mead and a two RBI single by Maci Bradford.
Wheelersburg would cut West’s lead to 8-4 in the bottom of the fifth, but the score would remain at that point for the duration of the game, securing West’s district title to advance them to the State Tournament this weekend.
“Our offense is pretty solid from batters one through nine,” Ford said. “We had a few kids really step up with their bats during district play including Maci Bradford, Brooklyn Pitts, Emily Moore, Myla Mead and Kate Rollins. As a team of 13 players, we only had four strikeouts at the plate in two games vs Wheelersburg, so we are putting the ball in play and making things happen.
“As far as our pitching, we have leaned and trusted in Kyndall,” Ford continued. “She is our ace, and she has been big for us. She only allowed eight hits in all four district games while compiling 42 strikeouts in 20 innings pitched during our championship run.
“Our team defense has been solid to date as well only committing three errors in four games.”
Tuesday’s win for West is a confidence booster in all aspects as there were a few members of last year’s Little League World Series championship team on this year’s Wheelersburg team, something Ford and his team talked about when discussing their goals for this postseason.
“Obviously, beating that team was a big step for us,” Ford said. “They have talent and experience, so we knew they would be a challenge. On Saturday, we had a huge win over them by a score of 14-0 in four innings. We knew they would be back for a rematch on Tuesday and ready to play. We had to stay focused on our goal. Now that we have advanced, we are still taking it one game at a time.”
A district title is significant for West, but their work is far from over. Their run for a state title begins Saturday morning at Wheelersburg (host of the 2019 State Softball Little League Tournament) at 10 a.m. against Canfield, a game that Ford knows his team will have to be prepared for if they hope to achieve their goals set before the season.
“We are hoping to win a state title,” Ford said. “With the state tournament being close to home, the West Side crowd should be a big advantage in our favor. It’s going to take continued focus, great practices, and leadership from some of the girls that have played in big games during their softball careers. These girls know how to win, and they have a good thing going. They are hungry, focused, and ready to represent Scioto County this week in the state tournament.”
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