Post 23 walks it off


Portsmouth wins 3-2 over Colts

By Paul Boggs - [email protected]



Jackson’s Holden Blankenship fires a throw to first from his shortstop position as he also doubled and scored the game-winning run in Post 23’s 3-2 victory over Chillicothe.

Jackson’s Holden Blankenship fires a throw to first from his shortstop position as he also doubled and scored the game-winning run in Post 23’s 3-2 victory over Chillicothe.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg’s Hunter Thomas sprints towards first base as Pirate and Post 23 teammate Lane Hutchinson scores the squad’s second run during Tuesday’s American Legion Baseball game against Chillicothe.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg’s Landon Hutchinson bunts for a second-inning single during Portsmouth Post 23’s American Legion Baseball game against Chillicothe on Tuesday at Portsmouth High School’s Hatcher Field.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg’s Cooper McKenzie hit a first-inning solo home run as part of Portsmouth Post 23’s 3-2 American Legion Baseball victory over visiting Chillicothe on Tuesday.


Paul Boggs | Daily Times

PORTSMOUTH — Portsmouth Post 23, simply put, put on a bookend showcase of playing both long ball — and short ball — against the visiting Chillicothe Colts on Tuesday.

Sandwich in a dominant pitching performance from Jackson’s Bryson Brown, and an inning of relief and escape work with Rock Hill’s Trenton Williams, and it all added up for a thrilling —and important — SCOL walkoff win.

That’s because Post 23 scored single markers in the opening two innings, then saw the Colts forge a 2-2 top of the seventh-stanza tie —only for Portsmouth to sport two at-bats in its bottom half, and have both hitters reach base for the well-played 3-2 triumph at Portsmouth High’s Hatcher Field.

That’s correct — as Jackson’s Holden Blankenship, off Austin McGill on in relief for the Colts, belted a double deep in the right-field gap for his first on-base appearance all game.

Blankenship bats leadoff for Post 23, and his speed played a part in scoring the winning run —as Greenup County’s Brock Kitchen came through with a textbook bunt down the third-base line.

The Colts charged the ball, but the throw for the out was wide of first base to the left, allowing Kitchen to take second —and Blankenship to come home for the 3-2 “W”.

“Holden Blankenship didn’t look good at the plate up until dropping in that double there. Then they make the mistake on the bunt and it’s ballgame over,” said Post 23 coach Josh McGraw. “That’s part of the baseball game. It was a good ballgame and it worked out for us.”

With the victory, in which Chillicothe actually outhit Portsmouth 5-4 but both teams made one seventh-inning error and left seven on base, Post 23 evened its SCOL tally to 2-2 —part of now 13-5.

The hosts needed the league win, as Waverly Post 142 —which swept Post 23 —still leads the SCOL at 4-0, as the Shockers’ league affair at Chillicothe on Wednesday was postponed to Thursday.

Portsmouth plays host to a pair of league doubleheaders this weekend, but more on those momentarily.

To set up this weekend, with Wednesday’s non-league game against Raceland being postponed due to inclement weather, Post 23 had to come out on top of Tuesday’s tilt — against the sub .500 Colts.

And, other than Chillicothe scoring two earned runs on three consecutive singles and a throwing error in the seventh, it did just that.

“It’s always good to get a league win. It’s a tough league, because even teams with records that might not show it, they are still throwing their top three pitchers. Just like Chillicothe did today, just like we normally do,” said McGraw. “We got a great game out of Bryson (Brown) and one inning of great bullpen by Trenton Williams. We had one long ball by Cooper (McKenzie) and a couple small-ball instances, which is our game. We weren’t really on at that plate tonight, so we had to figure it out. Their pitcher (Aiden Hutchinson) did a very good job of keeping us off balance, but we found a way to get it done.”

Against Aiden Hutchinson, Post 23 left six of its seven stranded runners in scoring position —but got two runs early courtesy of four Wheelersburg Pirates, which carried it to the seventh with that 2-0 lead.

With two outs in the opening inning, Cooper McKenzie mashed a two-out offering over the left-field fence for a solo home run.

In the second, Lane Hutchinson had a leadoff walk, Landon Hutchinson had an infield hit on a bunt, both Hutchinsons advanced a base on a wild pitch, and then Hunter Thomas grounded out to second to cross Lane Hutchinson.

“That was a big RBI-groundout by Hunter Thomas,” said McGraw. “Guys at second and third base, less than two outs, and Hunter does his job getting a ground ball to get a run in.”

Those were the only Post 23 hits, aside from a Caeleb McGraw first-inning single and a stolen base to follow McKenzie, until Blankenship’s two-bagger in the seventh.

Landon Hutchinson was left at third in the second, McKenzie at second after a walk in the third, Landon Hutchinson and Daewin Spence at second and first following walks in the fourth, and Isaiah Kelly and Thomas at second and third following a hit batsman (Kelly) and walk (Thomas) in the sixth.

Kelly and Thomas took third and second respectively, following Aiden Hutchinson having been lifted in favor of McGill —and a wild pitch.

The Colts’ hurler had Post 23 making a lot of contact, when he wasn’t issuing any of his half-dozen free passes —and right at Chillicothe fielders.

That was all before Blankenship found the blank space with his gapper in the seventh —and after McKenzie clubbed his solo home run.

“We hit some hard balls right at them, but didn’t have a lot dropping, and we didn’t execute with a guy on third a couple of times,” said Coach McGraw. “That happens sometimes.”

But the two runs held up until the seventh, thanks to Brown dealing on the mound.

As both starters pitched five and two-thirds frames, Brown retired the Colts 1-2-3 in innings one, five and six —and saw the minimum three in the third, following a one-out walk to Jacob Lenox and Blankenship turning an unassisted double play from his shortstop spot.

Brown struck out eight, including for all three outs in the second —after Will Dratwa led off with a single and Aiden Hutchinson walked.

In the fourth, Dratwa and Noah Davis drew one-out walks, and Mason Siberell singled with two outs to load the bases.

But Brown, around Siberell’s singles, struck out a pair of Colts to end the threat.

Brown began the seventh, but with his high pitch count, McGraw finally relieved for him following leadoff singles by Hutchinson and Siberell —combined with a throwing error and allowing them to take second and third.

Hutchinson scored on a wild pitch to make it 2-1, then the first Colt Williams saw was his counterpart pitcher McGill —who singled in Siberell.

“Bryson pitched really well for six innings. I probably left him in a little longer than I should have. That’s probably bad coaching on my part, leaving him out there for that many pitches. But Bryson was solid the whole time, just like he is every outing,” said the coach. “He did a great job, got out of a couple big jams, and the defense was really good today.”

And, it had to be now —with the sudden 2-2 tie.

Williams got the first two outs on a groundout and strikeout, but walked Rece Allen for runners at first and second.

However, Williams left them there —recording the final out with a centerfield flyout.

“When you get second and third and nobody out, those two runs are going to score. We knew that, but Trenton Williams did a great job of stopping them at just two runs,” said McGraw. “Trenton has been solid on the mound all year for us, either staring or in a relief role like tonight.”

And, speaking of relief, Portsmouth prevailed in walkoff fashion —for a necessary SCOL win.

Post 23 returns home, and returns to SCOL action, on Saturday against Circleville and Sunday against Hillsboro.

Both days are doubleheaders, with both Circleville contests counting as league bouts —and the opener against Hillsboro being a league game as well.

Both first-game first pitches are set for 2 p.m.

“Our pitching is set up for the weekend. Five of our really good starters ready to go,” said McGraw. “I’m kind of happy where we’re sitting.”

Post 23 Juniors in

Region V Tourney

Tuesday’s regular-season finale for the Portsmouth Post 23 Juniors team, at Chillicothe’s 757 Juniors, was rained out.

Post 23 now plays in the double-elimination Region V Tournament —taking place from Thursday through Saturday at Chillicothe’s VA Memorial Stadium.

The first game on Thursday, set for a 10 a.m. first pitch, involves fourth-seeded Portsmouth and top-seeded Waverly.

The only other game on Thursday is the 1 p.m. duel between second-seeded Chillicothe and third-seeded Hillsboro.

There are three games for Friday at 10 a.m., 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. —with the championship game set for Saturday at noon.

* * *

Chillicothe 000 000 2 — 2 5 1

Portsmouth 110 000 1 — 3 4 1

Post 757: Aiden Hutchinson 5 2/3 IP, 2R, 2ER, 3H, 1HB, 5BB, 4K, 26BF; Austin McGill 1 1/3IP, 1R, 0ER, 1H, 0HB, 0BB, 0K, 3BF

Post 23: Bryson Brown 6+IP, 2R, 2ER, 4H, 0HB, 4BB, 8K, 25BF; Trenton Williams 1IP, 0R, 0ER, 1H, 0HB, 1BB, 1K, 5BF

W —Trenton Williams; L —Austin McGill

Chillicothe hitting: Jacob Lenox BB, Rece Allen BB, Will Dratwa S BB, Noah Davis BB, Aiden Hutchinson S BB RS, Mason Siberell 2S RS, Austin McGill S RBI

Portsmouth hitting: Holden Blankenship D RS, Cooper McKenzie HR BB RBI RS, Caeleb McGraw S SB, Isaiah Kelly HBP, Lane Hutchinson BB RS, Landon Hutchinson S BB, Hunter Thomas BB RBI, Daewin Spence BB

Jackson’s Holden Blankenship fires a throw to first from his shortstop position as he also doubled and scored the game-winning run in Post 23’s 3-2 victory over Chillicothe.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/07/web1_Colts-Post-23-Blankenship-throw-.jpgJackson’s Holden Blankenship fires a throw to first from his shortstop position as he also doubled and scored the game-winning run in Post 23’s 3-2 victory over Chillicothe. Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg’s Hunter Thomas sprints towards first base as Pirate and Post 23 teammate Lane Hutchinson scores the squad’s second run during Tuesday’s American Legion Baseball game against Chillicothe.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/07/web1_Colts-Post-23-Thomas-scores-.jpgWheelersburg’s Hunter Thomas sprints towards first base as Pirate and Post 23 teammate Lane Hutchinson scores the squad’s second run during Tuesday’s American Legion Baseball game against Chillicothe. Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg’s Landon Hutchinson bunts for a second-inning single during Portsmouth Post 23’s American Legion Baseball game against Chillicothe on Tuesday at Portsmouth High School’s Hatcher Field.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/07/web1_Colts-Post-23-Hutchinson-bunt-.jpgWheelersburg’s Landon Hutchinson bunts for a second-inning single during Portsmouth Post 23’s American Legion Baseball game against Chillicothe on Tuesday at Portsmouth High School’s Hatcher Field. Paul Boggs | Daily Times

Wheelersburg’s Cooper McKenzie hit a first-inning solo home run as part of Portsmouth Post 23’s 3-2 American Legion Baseball victory over visiting Chillicothe on Tuesday.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/07/web1_Colts-Post-23-McKenzie.jpgWheelersburg’s Cooper McKenzie hit a first-inning solo home run as part of Portsmouth Post 23’s 3-2 American Legion Baseball victory over visiting Chillicothe on Tuesday. Paul Boggs | Daily Times
Portsmouth wins 3-2 over Colts

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved