PEDRO, Ohio — Merely hours after being victimized by the 10-run mercy rule to begin their 2016 campaign, the Trojans rebounded in a big way.
Trailing 7-5 entering the bottom of the seventh inning, Portsmouth (1-1) scored three runs to claim an 8-7 victory over the Clay Panthers Saturday during the Rock Hill Tournament.
Bailey Horsley began the inning with a single, then reached third on a Semajah Parker single. Later in the inning, with runners on the corners and two outs, Sharia Kerns doubled home the tying runs. One batter later, with Kerns occupying second, Eliza Gullett hit a line drive to left field to give the Trojans the one-run victory.
“Bailey Horsley started it for us and we always tell them, it only takes one person to start it and then it becomes contagious,” Trojans manager Kristen Bradshaw said. “Then Eliza Gullett had the opportunity to win the game and she delivered.”
Earlier in the day, Portsmouth fell 11-1 in five innings to Symmes Valley. However, this time Bradshaw knew her squad wouldn’t suffer the same fate.
“I could tell with their body language this game, they weren’t going to give up,” Bradshaw said.
The Trojans’ resolve was tested early in the game as Portsmouth trailed 7-1 entering the home half of the fourth inning but tailed four runs to being the comeback.
“I think the positive on the day is turning the page after the first game,” Bradshaw said. “We had a break for a few hours and then we came back to get the win, that was huge.”
Gullett finished the game going 2-4 with two RBIs while Kerns also went 2-for-4 with two doubles and three RBIs. Andi Queen picked up the victory, allowing seven runs — none earned — as Portsmouth committed three errors.
After committing 11 errors on the day, Bradshaw knows there team will have to improve quickly.
“We’ve definitely got to improve our defense,” Bradshaw said. “I think seven of the nine starters are playing new positions. We’ve just got to get more experience at practice, fielding as many balls as we can. It’s early still but it’s got to get better.”
As for Clay (1-1), the Panthers had an opportunity to win both their games after beating Chesapeake 13-0 earlier in the day before suffering the late game collapse.
“Our pitching staff is very young and they’re learning, and we just let one get away from us,” Panthers manager Jason Gearhart said. They battled and they stuck it out. We could have easily one that game but hats off to Portsmouth for coming back. That’s a good team there.”
Despite the loss, Tressa Carter led the Panthers, going 3-for-4 with a double, triple and an RBI. Elisa Collins also had a strong game, going 1-for-4 with a triple and three RBIs.
Overall, Gerheart was pleased with his team’s overall performance.
“It’s encouraging because we are such a young team,” Gearhart said. “We grew up a little bit today. We lost a game but we grew up. I’m not worried about it. We’ve got good things coming down the road. I’m excited.
“All in all, a great day. The bats didn’t come out during the second game. But all in all, 1-1, I’ll take it.”
Clay 003 400 0 — 7 8 2
Portsmouth 001 4003 — 8 7 3
Clay — Warnock 1-4 (R), Collins 1-4 (3B, 3RBI, 2R), Carter 3-4 (2B, 3B, RBI, R), Vassar 2-3 (BB, RBI), Wells 1-4 (R), Cooper 0-2 (R), Hickman 1-2 (BB, R).
Portsmouth — Bradley 1-3 (BB, 2RBI, R), Queen 0-3 (BB), Horsley 1-3 (BB, R), Parker 1-3 (BB, 2B, RBI, R), Delabar 0-2 (2BB, R), Jackson 0-3 (BB, R), Kerns 2-4 (2 2B, 3RBI, 3R), Gullett 2-4 (BB, 2RBI, R), McKinely 0-2 (BB).
W — Queen (1-1) 7IP, 8H, 7R, 0ER, 8H, 2BB
L — Oliver (1-1) 3 2/3 IP, 6H, 3R, 3ER, 3K, BB
Records — Clay 1-1; Portsmouth 1-1
Reach Chris Slone at 740-353-3101, ext 1930, or on Twitter @crslone