WEST PORTSMOUTH — Despite being their first game in a week’s time, the Wheelersburg Lady Pirates didn’t show any rust in the early stages of their trip to Portsmouth West.
The pair of softball powers entered Thursday’s Southern Ohio Conference Division II supremacy battle unscathed by league opponents.
After playing both teams went scoreless in the first inning, Wheelersburg (7-1, 5-0 SOC II) took momentum early in the second.
A single by sophomore Rileigh Lang led off the inning in which the Lady Pirates sent 11 batters to the plate — and plated six runs — helping buoy their 9-5 road win against the Lady Senators.
Senior Lyndsay Heimbach had a one-out bunt single to score Lang and give ‘Burg a 1-0 lead.
A sacrifice bunt by senior Brynley Preston moved Heimbach into scoring position. Then, with two outs, the Lady Pirates strung together a series in which six-straight batters reached — resulting in five more ‘Burg runs.
Sophomore Haley Myers singled to score Heimbach and freshman Catie Boggs, junior Macee Eaton drove in Myers with a double, and sophomore Sydney Skiver had an RBI double, scoring Eaton and sophomore AndiJo Howard. Again, all with two outs.
During that stretch of six runs in the top of the second, the Lady Pirates capitalized on five Lady Senators errors that helped move runners into scoring position — and ultimately to home plate.
“I honestly was worried because we haven’t played for a week, seen live pitching — and then you’re going to face Sydney McDermott who’s one of the best in our area,” Wheelersburg coach Teresa Ruby said, after the game. “We worked a lot this week on being aggressive and having good, positive at-bats. Really pleased with that and our base-running, we caused a little havoc.”
West coach Dani Coleman was pleased with her team’s play to out-score Wheelersburg in the final five-and-a-half innings, but said the six-run ‘Burg second set the tone.
“Had 11 hits total in the game, really started connected in the third and the fourth. Our bats weren’t there in the beginning as we tried to adjust to their pitching and our strategies. The 2nd inning we had some big defensive mistakes on the corners and push-bunts that really set the tone,” Coleman said. “Thought as the game went on, Sydney (McDermott) and Abi (Boland) had a great game at pitcher-catcher and our defense played up to their capability.”
West (10-1, 6-1 SOC II) got on the board in the home-half of the second when junior Acie Stone hit an RBI double, scoring freshman Myla Meade who reached via fielder’s choice.
Stone came-through again with one-out in the forth — cranking a solo home run to dead center field, cutting the ‘Burg lead to 6-2.
In the top of the sixth, Wheelersburg expanded on their lead with a two RBI double by Eaton — giving her a team-best three runs driven in on the day. Howard singled, scoring Eaton from second base to give the Lady Pirates a 9-2 lead — their largest of the game.
The extra-insurance runs the Lady Pirates added in the sixth were the type of at-bats Ruby said she wanted in the late stages.
“It’s huge. We talk about win each inning. Don’t win the game, win each inning and the game will take care of itself. They get two and we come back with three, that’s good we’ll take that,” Ruby said. “Some good solid at-bats in that stretch which I was pleased with.”
West junior Sydney McDermott reached via a Wheelersburg error in the sixth, scoring Meade and Stone to cut their deficit to 9-4.
In the seventh, West senior Abi Boland singled to score sophomore Emily Moore — giving the Lady Senators their fifth and final run.
McDermott was credited with the loss despite seven fielding errors, pitching a complete game on 137 pitches, allowing three earned runs, issuing three walks and striking out nine.
Howard was the winning pitcher for the Lady Pirates — allowing five hits and two earned runs in her four innings in the circle. Freshman Kaylynn Carter entered in relief and pitched the final three innings, allowing six West hits, two earned runs, no walks and three strikeouts.
The loss is West’s first of the season — and doesn’t take away from their early season-success, Coleman said.
The Lady Senators will play in the Boyd Co. Tri-State Showcase over the weekend against Kentucky schools Rowan County and Boyd County.
“This doesn’t detract from what we’ve done so far. Just need to go back and focus on the the areas where we struggled tonight and get back to work,” Coleman said.
The second meeting between Wheelersburg and Portsmouth West is scheduled for Wednesday, April 27 at Gene Bennett Park — less than two weeks after their first game.
Ruby says they’ll get another test from West when they face again — something she says is good experience for her team.
“It’s going to be another game. They’ve got some talented young ladies and a solid team, when we come we’re going to have to be ready to play,” Ruby said. “I love it — these are the fun games. We’ve got other teams in the league like South Webster who gave us a great game. I’d rather have games like that every day.”
Wheelersburg 0 6 0 0 0 3 0 — 9 9 1
Portsmouth West 0 1 0 1 0 2 1 — 5 11 7
Catie Boggs 0-2, 2R, 2HBP
Haley Myers 1-4, R, 2RBI
Macee Eaton 2-3, 2R, 2RBI, BB
AndiJo Howard 1-2, R, RBI, BB, HBP
Sydney Skiver 1-4, 2RBI
Rileigh Lang 1-3, R, HBP
Kaylynn Carter 0-4
Lyndsay Heimbach 2-4, R, RBI
Brynley Preston 1-2, BB
Portsmouth West hitting
Emma Sayre 0-4
Kate Rollins 2-4
Emily Moore 2-4, R
Kaylor Pickelsimer 0-4
Abi Boland 2-4, RBI
Myla Meade 2-4, 2R
Acie Stone 3-3, 2R, 2RBI
Karli York 0-1
Sydney McDermott 0-0, BB
Macie Bradford 0-1
AndiJoHoward (W) 4IP, 5H, 2ER, 1BB, 4K (W)
Kaylynn Carter (W) 3IP, 6H, 2ER, 0BB, 3K
Sydney McDermott (PW) 7IP, 9H, 3ER, 3BB, 9K (L)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved