WHEELERSBURG — It doesn’t get more timely than Portsmouth Post 23’s late game hitting in their first win over Hillsboro Post 129 on Tuesday.
The pair met for two games in South Central Ohio League (SCOL) Legion play at Wheelersburg High School.
In game one, a Mason Montgomery three-run home run gave Post 23 a 5-4 lead with no outs in the bottom of the sixth. Montgomery’s go-ahead bomb cleared the fence in center field — the first in-game homer Montgomery hit as a Class of ‘21 Wheelersburg graduate.
“Put two balls in play and have guys on first and second. Told Mason (Montgomery) to bunt early in the count, a dumb decision on my part as he hits a home run later,” Post 23 coach Drew Lowe said, jokingly. “That’s what we’ve been trying to do — pass the stick to the next guy and let him clean it up. This group’s coming together one day at a time.”
Hunter Thomas led off their sixth inning by reaching via error and Blake Stuntebeck joined him on the base path with a no-out single.
The go-ahead shot helped Post 23 avoid a somewhat disastrous result after they led Hillsboro 2-0 through five complete.
Braden Horr pitched five shutout innings prior to Hillsboro’s 4-run sixth and allowed only two hits in that stretch of shutout baseball.
“It starts with the pitching and a big part of it’s the guys behind him. You’ve got eight guys behind our pitchers that when a ball’s put in play, we’re going to field it,” Lowe said. “I think that gives our guys a lot of confidence that we’re going to make plays at any position.”
When Post 129 took a lead in the sixth, a string of hits by Warner and Wyckoff put two runners in scoring position with one out. Burns drove in Warneron an RBI single before Meade tied the game at 2-2 on a double with two outs.
A ball thrown out of play scored Meade from second to give 129 their first lead of the game. Kissling singled to score U Hunter and made it 4-2 on what was ultimately Hillsboro’s final hit.
Blake Stuntebeck retired the final batter of the sixth to avoid any additional damage in relief of Horr. Daewin Spence closed the game and earned the save in the seventh, retiring the three batters he faced in order and striking out two of them.
Vankeuren drove in the game’s first run, scoring Case Dyer after Dyer walked and stole second.
An RBI by HBP by Horr gave Post 23 its’ second run to give them a 2-0 lead. Vankeuren’s RBI single was one of three Post 23 hits in the narrow victory.
Post 23 improves to 6-2 with the 5-4 win, and including the 12-0 win they earned in three innings during the second game of their double header Tuesday.
Portsmouth will travel to Piketon on Wednesday in another SCOL contest.
Hillsboro: 0 0 0 0 0 4 0 — 4 8 3
Portsmouth: 0 0 2 0 0 3 X — 5 3 2
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