CHILLICOTHE — A jam-packed five weeks of summer baseball came to an end for the Portsmouth Post 23 Senior Team on Monday.
After there were questions on whether any sports would be played at any level this summer, Post 23 completed their 35-game season with a 14-3 five-inning loss to Chilliothe Post 757 at Mary Lou Patton Park in Chillicothe in the Region V Postseason Tournament.
Post 23 began their postseason four-team tournament on Sunday with an upset 4-3 win over the top-seeded 757 Colts before dropping an extra innings decision later that day to Waverly Post 142.
In Monday’s loss, Chillicothe added two first inning runs before exploding for an 11-run third while their pitcher, Lucas Foglesong, struck out six batters in just three innings of work on the mound. Chillicothe’s Jaden McNish blasted a two-run home run to help kick-start 757’s big and decisive third inning.
Post 23’s Rodney Moore got the start on the mound in the loss, pitching two innings and facing eight 757 hitters in the top of the third before being replaced by Kaleb Seals. Moore and Seals were two of four players Post 23 added to their Senior Team roster from the Junior Team ahead of Monday’s game following a marathon-Sunday of games. Blake Wood closed out the game on the mound for Post 23 in the fourth inning.
“We brought up four Junior guys to help us out tonight, it was a great opportunity for them because they’re the future of Post 23,” Post 23 coach Drew Lowe said following the loss. “In that big third inning, we needed to try and control the game a little bit more. That two-run home run leads to several more runs, if we can control that snowball effect, we maybe give ourselves a chance to compete later in the game.”
Portsmouth scored each of their three runs in the top of the fifth during their final at-bats. Reece Whitley’s RBI double drove-in Wood from first base after a lead-off single. Wood, Whitley, and Seth Nichols each touched home-plate to produce Post 23’s three notches on the scoreboard.
Claiming the Hillsboro Wooden Bat Tournament championship likely tops the list of team accomplishments this year’s group of Post 23 Seniors were able to achieve from a win-loss perspective as the Seniors finished their five-week campaign 8-26-1.
After reflecting on preseason interviews where the possibility that a summer season seemed all the more unlikely, Lowe mentioned he’s thankful he and the Portsmouth organization gave their players a place to play the game they love after having the spring sports season taken away from many area athletes due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“At the start of the summer, our goal was just to get kids opportunities and reps, just a chance to play baseball,” Lowe said. “At the end of the summer we were able to do that. We were able to fill-in for their spring season which unfortunately got taken away. The kids got to play the game, winning the Hillsboro Wooden Bat Tournament was a good accomplishment for them. Just getting the chance to compete everyday is a great accomplishment and what we’re living with right now.”
Post 23’s non-returners for future summers include Nichols, Logan Hankins, Caleb McNutt, Whitley, Dakota Dodds, and Cade McNeil. With over half of this year’s roster and more up-and-comers set to make the move from Junior Legion to Senior Legion baseball, Lowe was excited for his next generation of teams and players to continue the Post 23 legacy a year from now.
“It’s exciting for our next generation,” Lowe said. “We want to keep building up the Post 23 program, getting Post 23 back to where it was in the days when we were competing at the best level.”
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