SOUTH WEBSTER — Simply put, the Portsmouth Post 23 Senior squad hit, got hit and walked its way to one of the easiest and most lopsided baseball victories you may ever witness in person.
Unfortunately for host South Webster, had this been boxing, the Jeeps would have been knocked out in the first round.
That’s because Post 23 —which is a collection of some of Scioto County’s top high school players and hail from strong programs such as Wheelersburg, Clay, Valley and West — had no trouble in turning aside South Webster on Wednesday with a whopping 26-3 victory.
The Seniors squad erupted for 13 first-inning runs on six hits and a massive nine free passes —six walks with three hit batsmen.
In the third, after the Jeeps’ Gavin Baker limited Post 23 to only one baserunner on an error in the second, Portsmouth pumped out five more runs on two hits and three walks.
Finally, in the fifth, and once again after Baker minimized the South Webster fourth-inning damage to a leadoff walk, the Seniors exploded again —amassing eight more runs to make it an astonishing score of 26-1.
The Jeeps, which are in fact their regular high-school club which would have competed in the spring, scored two runs in the fifth for the 23-run difference.
The contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule.
Following the cancellation of the Ohio High School Athletic Association spring season, the Jeeps — along with Clay, Minford and Valley from Scioto County — joined Coal Grove from Ohio and Raceland and Greenup County from Kentucky in forming an independent league.
The Jeeps were set to return home, and return to league action, on Thursday against Coal Grove.
Good thing, for South Webster (1-2) would want to flush Wednesday’s ailments out of its system quickly— as baseball often gives teams that excellent opportunity by playing so many games in so many days.
In truth, the Jeeps are much better than what they showed.
Conversely, the win was the first for Post 23 — which had opened the season on the wrong side of three, albeit often close, doubleheader sweeps.
The latest of which was Tuesday, when Portsmouth lost a pair at Hillsboro by counts of 5-4 and 3-1.
The Seniors rebounded on Wednesday by batting through the lineup two times through on their initial at-bat, as the first nine and 13 of the first 14 hitters reached base.
Jaden Jessee, who batted three times in the inning, started things off with a single — which dropped dead square between three Jeep defenders charging for the ball in shallow right field.
Case Dyer delivered an infield hit, and then Braden Harr hammered a ground-rule double to left.
After an error off the bat of Cade McNeil and the first of many walks, 2020 Clay graduate Reece Whitley whacked a Billy Jones offering beyond the left-field fence for a three-run home run and the 6-0 lead.
McNeil, a recent West graduate, singled and benefited from an E-7 to plate three more markers —upping the advantage to now 11-0.
McNeil then scored the 12th Post 23 point on a Whitley sacrifice fly to center.
In fact, the Jeeps’ first seven recorded outs were three strikeouts and four fly balls to center-fielder Gabe Ruth.
In the third, Dyer dropped in a double in right to score Whitley and Andrew Andronis, as Hunter Thomas tacked on a two-run single to cross fellow Wheelersburg teammates Dyer and Harr.
Finally in the fifth, Clay’s Caleb McNutt mashed a grand-slam home run —accounting for half of Post 23’s eight runs in the frame.
Obviously, Harr had more than enough run support — as he pitched the first three innings and to a dozen Jeep batters for the win.
Harr had allowed both of his hits in the first — a one-out single to Ruth and then a solo home run to Brice Robnett on the next at-bat.
He did team up with first baseman and fellow Pirate Ethan Ison to pick Ruth off.
Harr faced four Jeeps in the first, retired the side 1-2-3 in the second, and offset his only walk with his only strikeout in the third and stranded a pair.
Chase Conley went the final two innings for Post 23, giving up a leadoff single to Levi Cook in the fourth.
In the fifth, South Webster scored its other two runs on three hits, including Cook collecting an RBI-groundout.
Jaren Lower and Robnett both singled sandwiched around a Ruth double, as Robnett recorded another RBI.
Post 23 will be back in action this weekend with Hillsboro’s three-day Wooden Bat Tournament, and opens on Friday against the host Mavericks Juniors at Hillsboro’s Shaffer Park.
First pitch is set for 5:30 p.m.
Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @BoggsSports © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved