CHILLICOTHE — The Portsmouth Lady Trojans softball team concluded its’ historic 2021 season on Saturday in a loss to Williamsport Westfall in a Division III district championship.
The Lady Mustangs — Division III state champions in 2014 — jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the first on two hits and three Lady Trojans errors.
Portsmouth committed four total errors over the course of the game, but never managed to recover from the early set-back.
In their six trips to the plate as the visiting team on the scoreboard, the Lady Trojans (21-8) left five runners stranded in scoring position, including three in the back-half of the game after leadoff hits by Ayonna Carr and Sydney Johnson in the fifth and another by Madison Perry in the sixth.
Westfall (24-5) had three-straight singles to lead off their 7-run sixth inning which ended the contest at 10-0 in six innings, scoring runs on a single by Maddie Mullins and subsequent doubles by Kylee Henry and Cook.
“We didn’t really hit the ball well the first time through the lineup. Pitch selection, I think we were just anxious up there — swinging at pitches that we usually don’t,” Portsmouth coach Kristen Bradshaw said, after the game. “That first inning we had three or four errors and our defense has been solid all year. They’ve never really been in a game at this stage. I think we were well prepared for the game and for their pitcher. One thing led to another, and we couldn’t catch up.”
For the game, Westfall tallied 15 hits and had five players finish with a multi-hit day. Portsmouth had one-such offensive performance as Carr went 2-of-2 as part of their 6-hit day as a team.
The defeat puts an end to one of the best seasons in Portsmouth softball history.
The 2021 Lady Trojans set a school-record in wins (21) in Kristen Bradshaw’s seventh season as head coach, were OVC runners-up to regional qualifier Ironton, and were district runners-up for the first time since 2013.
And they bring everyone back.
Portsmouth, along with Wellston, were the two teams out of the six at this year’s Division III district championship games not to feature a senior in their entire starting lineup or pitching staff.
“We bring everybody back, it’s the first time our program’s been in this game since 2013,” Bradshaw said. “It’s a great accomplishment to get here, it was one of our goals. But seeing the other team at the other side of it, I think they’ll be eager for the offseason and to work toward that and hopefully come out on top next year.”
Bradshaw’s unit will also add a few players from the junior high ranks to a team that’ll be looking to add to their previous year’s accomplishments.
Trying to add to that begins in the off-season and with an eye on what it takes to compete for a district championship as well as a bid in the Ohio Valley Conference, she expects the momentum seen in their program will likely carry into next school year.
“More girls than ever have showed up when we’re hitting, when it’s not-mandatory. We had eight-nine girls showing up and it’s all voluntary in the offseason. We get a few more girls coming up, freshman coming up to the roster next season and everyone we bring back has a season of experience at this level.”
Westfall advances to the Division III regional tournament where they’ll face Ironton on Wednesday, May 26 at 2:00 p.m.
The winner of Westfall-Ironton will face the winner of Wheelersburg-Tuscarawas Valley in a regional championship tilt scheduled for Saturday, May 29.
Portsmouth: 0 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 6 4
Westfall: 3 0 0 0 0 7 — 10 15 1
W: Dumm (W), L: Phillips (P)
Emily Cheatham 1-3
Madison Perry 1-3
Katie Born 1-3
Ayonna Carr 2-2
Sydney Johnson 1-2
Landefeld 4-4, 2R
Bickenheuser 1-4, R
Dumm 0-4, 2R
Mullins 2-4, R, 2RBI
Henry 2-4, R, 3RBI
Cook 3-4, R, 3RBI
Ragland 2-4, R