PIKETON — As Portsmouth Post 23 plays better baseball, the Seniors are still struggling to solve the Shockers.
That’s because, for the second time in a week, visiting Post 23 dropped a low-scoring and close contest against Waverly Post 142 —losing 2-0 in a league tilt on Wednesday at Piketon High School.
Last Saturday, as part of the Hillsboro Wooden Bat Tournament, Waverly handed champion Portsmouth its only loss in five games —a 6-1 decision in which Jacob Mathews handcuffed the Seniors.
On Wednesday, with Waverly hosting and with good old-fashioned aluminum bats being used this time, it was Lane Mettler mowing down Portsmouth batters in your classic pitchers’ duel.
Mettler went the opening six innings for the near complete-game victory, allowing only four hits and two walks while striking out eight.
He gave up two singles apiece in the first and sixth stanzas, retired the side 1-2-3 in the third and fourth frames, and set down 10 consecutive Seniors and 16 out of 18 in one masterful stretch.
Roger Woodruff worked the seventh for the save, shutting the Seniors’ door with another 1-2-3 inning — which was punctuated with a game-ending strikeout.
As it turned out, Easton Lansing’s two-out two-run double in the third inning proved to be all the offense the Shockers needed for the win.
“Lane was very tough on the mound. Solid performance and outing for him. Woody came in and threw strikes and was able to close it off,” said Post 142 coach Jonathan Teeters.
Waverly’s win raised its record to 6-3, while Portsmouth — with its second defeat in as many days following the Wooden Bat Tournament title —fell to 5-9.
Aside from leadoff singles by Seth Nichols and Reece Whitley in the first, and two-out singles by Cade McNeil and Braden Horr in the sixth, Post 23 reached base otherwise just twice.
Jaden Jessee drew a walk in the second, but he was erased as part of an inning-ending 6-4-3 double play.
Mettler then walked Hunter Thomas in the fifth, but — like Nichols, Whitley, McNeil and Horr —he was left stranded aboard.
Post 23 used three pitchers — with Ethan Ison starting the first two, Dakota Dodds tossing the next three, and Whitley going for the final frame.
Dodds, despite throwing well and retiring six out of seven at one point, was charged with the pitching loss.
Against Ison, Kannon Pack singled with two outs in the first for Waverly, but the Shockers’ better threat was in the second — when Lansing and J.T. Barnett both walked and Logan Maynard singled to load the bases with one out.
But Ison induced back-to-back pop-outs to second base to end the inning.
However, Post 142 broke through in the third.
With one away, Pack singled and Mettler reached on an unsuccessful fielder’s choice — setting up Lansing landing his two-bagger two batters later that scored the two.
The Shockers’ only other baserunners were Barnett being hit by a pitch following Lansing’s at-bat, Weston Roop singling in the fourth, and Lansing singling again in the sixth.
Both clubs return to tournament action this weekend — at the annual Jim Jadwin Memorial Tournament in Chillicothe.
For Friday at Hoffman Field, Waverly will play Hillsboro at 11:30 a.m while Portsmouth plays Jefferson County (Ky.) at 2 p.m.
Then, at spacious VA Memorial Stadium, Waverly will face Ashland at 4:30 p.m. followed by Portsmouth meeting host post Chillicothe 757 at 7 p.m.
On Saturday, prior to the day’s quarterfinals and Sunday’s semifinals and championship, both will be back at Hoffman Field —with Waverly and Athens encountering at 11:30 and Portsmouth getting Greenville immediately after.
© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved