PORTSMOUTH — What a way to end the summer.
In their final scrimmage of the 2020 summer softball season, the Portsmouth Lady Trojans rallied from eight runs down to defeat the Notre Dame Lady Titans 12-11 in eight innings.
“The effort that we gave tonight was great, they never gave up,” Portsmouth coach Kristen Bradshaw said following the win. “We started six freshmen. The youth of the team, the program’s up and coming. It’s good to see your young girls really perform for you in a tough game like this — especially when you get down 9-1.”
In the final four innings of play, including the decisive eighth, Portsmouth managed to score 11 runs after trailing Notre Dame 9-1 though four-and-a-half innings.
Will-be junior Olivia Ramey delivered the game-winning RBI-single into left field, scoring will-be sophomore Sydney Johnson from third in the bases-loaded, one-out scenario.
Ramey reached base in four of five plate appearances in Tuesday’s come-from-behind win, including being the game-tying run in the bottom of the seventh with no one out.
Will-be freshman pitcher Olivia Dickerson assumed mound duties for the Lady Trojans beginning the bottom of the sixth, allowing just two runs in her three innings pitched.
Claire Dettwiller’s two-run homer to left-center in the top of the seventh re-extended Notre Dame’s lead to 11-7 — ahead of the Trojans’ improbable final sequence of at-bats.
In the bottom of the seventh, however, Portsmouth’s first six batters would reach base via two errors and four singles, giving the Lady Trojans enough firepower to complete the comeback and push the game into extra innings.
Dickerson proceeded to shut down ND’s batters in the top of the eighth, and the rest was history.
“Notre Dame hit the heck out of the ball, but our freshman pitcher Olivia Dickerson pitched the last three innings,” Bradshaw said. “Gave up just the two runs, but for the most part kept the ball down and let her defense work for her.”
Through the first four innings, Notre Dame’s Gwen Sparks kept the Trojans hitters at bay by allowing just one run to cross the plate while facing 17 batters.
Portsmouth’s Emily Cheatham got the Trojans on the board in the third with an RBI-single, scoring will-be junior Madison Perry from third after a one-out triple.
Both Portsmouth and Notre Dame used their sticks to their advantage in Tuesday’s game.
With three voluntary practices a week for the last month as Ohio began to allow non-contact sports the opportunity to practice, Portsmouth’s softball program has been taking full advantage of its alloted time granted by the OHSAA after a cancelled spring sports season.
“The month of June has been great for us. We’ve done a lot of hitting, we’ve gotten five or six scrimmages in with this being our last one,” Bradshaw said. “Obviously nothing’s mandatory right now, but these girls want to be here. We’ve had 16, 17, sometimes up to 19 girls show up three nights a week to hit. It’s good to have a group that loves it and I think when the season got cancelled, I think they realized how much they actually love it. The energy this past month has been amazing and tonight being the last night in June is a great way to end on.”
Just a scrimmage yes, but Tuesday’s extra-innings victory showcases the trajectory of this group of Lady Trojans.
With six freshmen in the starting lineup and 11 will-be juniors and sophomores likely returning from the 2020 roster, Bradshaw is excited to see exactly how high they may take the Portsmouth program.
“We have more girls playing travel ball than we’ve had in the program the last 10 years,” Bradshaw said. “They’re getting extra reps every single weekend right now. For young girls, freshmen and sophomores, turning the page quickly is huge. Mentally they’re not up to the senior, high-school level yet. I think this freshmen and sophomore class will carry us, I couldn’t be more excited for them and for our program.”
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved