PORTSMOUTH – Dreams are meant to live on, no matter the circumstances. For West Portsmouth Little League’s 11/12 year old All-Star baseball team, their dream of playing in the State Tournament lives on after they defeated Northwest 9-6 Tuesday night to claim the 2019 Little League Scioto County Championship.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” West head coach Adam Carver said following Tuesday’s win, “Ever since they let me announce the rosters on June 1st, it’s been a month and a half of work for us. We had a lot of rain and weather impact some of our practices, but I’m very thankful for Dan Cassidy, J.T. Pickelsimer for allowing us to use their buildings due to rain. Let us use their hitting facilities, and I feel that’s a big reason we’re here where we are today.”
West was forced to face Northwest for a second time in as many days Tuesday after falling to the Mohawks 10-7 Monday in the first leg of their championship series. After a sluggish start to Monday’s game, the West bats came alive early to help them defeat Northwest Tuesday 9-6.
“That’s something we’ve been trying to tell them through this season,” Carver said of his team’s resillency and ability to fight off adversity. “It’s the first year with new rule that you have to have 13 or 14 players, and everyone’s been adapting to having to bat at least once. We’re comfortable with what pitching we have, feel comfortable with what we’re doing now. The kids have been all in lately and it’s a big reason for our success.”
Leading West at the plate was a cast of youngsters including Dawson Montavon who finished 2/3 with two singles, Will Kegley who finished 1/3 with a two RBI triple, Levi Pickelsimer who finished 3/3 with three singles and an RBI in the fifth, Bryson Kessinger who finished 1/2 with a walk and two RBI, Carson Carver who finished 1/2 with two HBP, Ethan Kingery who finished 1/3 with a walk, and Isaiah Bennett who finished 1/1.
Three runs in the third inning and six runs scored in the fifth inning helped West ultimately win Tuesday’s County Championship game.
“We’ve kind of struggled at the plate on and off,” Carver said. Everyone was putting the ball in play last night, they came up big for us, we needed every one of those runs to win and we did just that because of it.”
Luke Cassidy pitched most of Tuesday’s game going five innings facing 23 batters giving up only six hits and three runs. Gabe McNeil and Levi Pickelsimer closed the game out in the sixth and allowed West to escape with a victory over Northwest.
Following Tuesday’s win, West advances to the next round of the postseason in which they will face Lawrence County’s Little League Champion, Ironton Little League, in a best of three series to determine who will advance to the State Little League Tournament.
Even though Ironton may be a somewhat unfamiliar opponent for West, Carver knows his team will be ready to go as they continue their fight in hopes for an appearance in the State Little League Tournament.
“We haven’t faced them yet this year, the last time I’ve seen them was as an assistant on the 11 year old All-Stars last year,” Carver relayed. “So we don’t really know anything about them. But if our kids keep fighting like they did against Northwest, we’ll give ourselves a really good shot to move on and keep playing baseball like all the boys want to do.”
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