CHILLICOTHE — Heading into the second day of the American Legion Ohio Region V Tournament, Portsmouth Post 23 has put itself in a great position to win it all.
Using a six-run fourth inning Sunday evening at VA Memorial Stadium, Post 23 (11-13) handed Chillicothe 757 a 9-4 loss in the winner’s bracket’s quarterfinals. The program now just needs two consecutive wins to bring home a Region V title … and it’s got the pitching to do so.
Part of that is because of the performance starter Dakota Dodds gave them against 757. The Clay High School product threw all seven innings, striking out four and throwing 101 pitches.
Dodds surrendered three runs in the first three innings but took a deep breath and settled in afterwards, allowing 23 to save its arms for the rest of this week’s tournament.
“Dakota got a little shaky early, had a little mechanical issue, but we talked in between innings and once we started hitting the ball and got a lead, he settled back down,” 23 coach Brady Knittel said. “He found his groove and showed up the rest of the game.”
Chillicothe 757 (13-19) wasted no time getting on the board, putting up two runs in the top of the first inning. After Trey Carter and Ethan Cunningham posted back-to-back singles, Chad Ison lined into a fielder’s choice and Harley Patterson logged a sacrifice fly, making it 2-0.
In the second, Portsmouth (11-13) cut the lead in half when Reid Shultz drove in Ethan Lauder.
Chillicothe, however, quickly retook a two-run lead, at 3-1, when Tyler Rood laced an RBI double into the right-center field gap in the top of the third. In the bottom half of the third, Portsmouth tied the contest on a wild pitch and an RBI single from Bryce Ponn.
The Colts retook the lead, 4-3, in the top of the fourth when Cunningham knocked in Kody Haubeil. In the bottom half of the frame, with the bases loaded, 23’s Nathan McCormick gave Portsmouth its first lead of the game with a two-run single, making it 5-4.
Ponn, Lauder and Luke Lindamood then played add-on as Ponn and Lauder added RBI singles of their own before scoring on a two-run single from Lindamood, making it 9-4.
“We started seeing pitches well and we got to [Colts starter Chad Ison] late. He started getting a little fatigued,” Knittel said. “But we started putting good swings on the ball, talking about approaches in between at-bats and just kept focused.”
McCormick finished 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, Ponn was 2-for-3 with a run and two RBIs, and Lindamood chipped in with a 2-for-3 night alongside two RBIs.
Knittel’s crew will be back in action Monday against Circleville 134 at 4:30 p.m., back at VA Memorial Stadium.
“We’re going to do the same thing we did today … throw our guys and pound the strike zone,” Knittel said. “We have to pound the zone early on the mound and attack the baseball at the plate. We want to keep the pressure on our opponents.”
Circleville was a 2-0 winner over the tournament’s top seed, Waverly 142, earlier Sunday. 134’s program has won three consecutive Region V titles and six of the last eight.
“Circleville is a great, great team and have a great tradition within their program,” Knittel said. “So we have to keep the ball low, put pressure on them and make them beat us.”