PORTSMOUTH — In the Portsmouth Lady Trojans’ three meetings with Coal Grove during the 2021 season, the second and third times have been the charm.
It may also help that it’s the month of May and the Lady Trojans — now 21-7 after their win over the Lady Hornets in Wednesday’s Division III district semifinal — are in the midst of a 7-game winning streak.
During their 5-2 win over Coal Grove this time around, Portsmouth’s combined pitching crew of junior Faith Phillips and freshman Olivia Dickerson kept the Lady Hornets off the scoreboard for the first four innings and held them to just seven hits all night.
The Lady Trojans wasted little time taking an early advantage, doing so in the first inning on RBI singles by Dickerson and Katie Born to go up 2-0.
Two more runs in the third doubled their lead to 4-0 as Dickerson scored on a wild pitch following another RBI single that scored junior Madison Perry after Perry’s second hit in two ABs.
“I think seeing them twice already helped us,” Portsmouth coach Kristin Bradshaw said, after the game. “We knew coming in what to expect from their pitcher, and we were able to work on those things this week. We jumped on her early with the bats and I think that gave us the momentum the rest of the game.”
Coal Grove scored a run to get on the board in the fifth on an RBI double by senior Addi Dillow, denting Portsmouth’s lead to 4-1.
Lady Hornets senior Jaidyn Griffith homered to kick off the 6th to cut the Lady Trojans’ lead in half on their final run of the game.
Besides those two extra-base scoring knocks, Portsmouth’s pitching and defense kept runners off base and out-of scoring position.
Phillips pitched three innings of shutout softball before Dickerson, ultimately the game’s winner for completing the final four innings on the hill, gave up only four hits and two earned runs.
“I was definitely pleased with our pitching performances from Faith (Phillips) and Olivia (Dickerson),” Bradshaw said. “Credit to our defense for making the plays we needed to.”
No. 4-seed Portsmouth’s 7-game winning streak will be put to the test on Saturday in a Division III district final versus No. 3 Westfall — champions of the Scioto Valley Conference.
This marks the first time since 2013 the Lady Trojans softball program will play in a district final.
The winner will move on to next week’s regional tournament to face the winner of another Southeast district championship game, Ironton versus Adena.
No looking ahead this late into the season, however, as Bradshaw says the Lady Trojans will be keeping their same game plan into Saturday and hope their bats show up in a big game.
“Westfall has a great softball program. We are going to keep our same game plan the rest of the week into Saturday. Approach it as any other game, like we have all season no matter who we play, and hope our bats stay hot to win us a district championship.”
First pitch for Saturday’s district final from Unioto High School in Chillicothe is set for 5:00 p.m.
Coal Grove: 0 0 0 0 1 1 0 — 2 7 1
Portsmouth: 2 0 2 0 0 1 X — 5 9 1
Emily Cheatham 3-4, RBI
Olivia Ramey 1-4, R
Madison Perry 1-4, 2R
Olivia Dickerson 2-3, R, 2RBI
Katie Born 1-2, RBI, R
Faith Phillips 0-3
Ayonna Carr 0-2
Sydney Johnson 1-3, R
Kyndall Kearns 0-2
Faith Phillips 3IP – 3H, 0ER, 0R, 0BB, 1K – 12 batters faced
Olivia Dickerson (W) 4IP – 4H, 2ER, 1BB, 3K – 17 batters faced
Dillow 2-4, RBI
Griffith 3-3, HR, RBI, R
Dale 0-2, BB
Delawader 0-1 (pinch hit)
Deeds 1-3, R
Murphy (L) 3IP – 6H 4R, 2ER, BB, 1K
Travis 3IP – 3H – 1ER, 0BB, 1K
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1930, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2021 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved