PORTSMOUTH — It was a historic night at a historic field Thursday evening, as Portsmouth Post 23 captured its first league victory since the team’s disappearance several years ago.
Battling the Riverbats of Chillicothe’s Post 62, Portsmouth Post 23 held on to win 9-7 to get their first league win of the season and since returning to American Legion baseball.
“My boys came ready to play tonight and I was very happy with the effort and the fact we started well,” Portsmouth Post 23 coach Matthew Miller said Thursday evening shortly after his team’s two-run victory.
Miller was pleased with his team’s start to the game, noting he wished they would all begin in the same manner.
Post 23 started off great defensively, despite giving up a single to start off the game. The leadoff hit proved to be inconsequential, as Post 23’s fielding was able to double-up on Post 62 after a line drive was hit to Portsmouth first baseman, Jaydren Guthrie, who then immediately fired the ball to second base to get a hastily returning Post 62 runner out as he unsuccessfully tried to make it back to the bag in time.
The defensive start got things rolling for Post 23, as they used their momentum at the plate, scoring five runs in their half of the first inning.
“A lot of times we have found ourselves in a hole and trying to dig ourselves out, but to get ahead 5-0, that kind of takes the pressure off of us a little bit,” Miller said.
All five runs Post 23 scored in the first inning came after getting two outs.
Drew Lowe took the mound for Post 23. He pitched a complete game, going all seven innings for Portsmouth. Lowe faced 33 batters in the game, allowing seven runs, four of which were earned, off eight hits. He walked three batters and hit one with a pitch. Lowe also struck out one Riverbat.
“Drew pitched an outstanding game,” Miller said. “He battled all day and even when he couldn’t find the zone there for a minute, he found a way to get it back.”
Lowe and JJ Stamper led Post 23 with three hits each. Lowe drove in two runs and hit a triple, while Stamper hit three singles out of four at-bats.
Kyle Jenkins and Nick Marvin followed with a pair of hits. Jenkins had a single and a double, while scoring three times. Marvin drove in a run and scored, as well as hit a double.
Jenkins started the offense off with a two-out double, which was followed by another double by Nick Marvin, which brought in Jenkins to score.
Lowe then reached with a single that was also followed up by an RBI single by Bradley Gee.
The inning continued for Post 23 as Billy Book drove in a run and reached first safely after a Post 62 fielding error.
Drew Cassidy put more pressure on Post 62 after he hit a single and advanced runners into scoring position, which then allowed Guthrie to drive in the fifth run of the inning with a single to right field.
Chillicothe Post 62 was able to respond in the top of the second though, as they managed to score a pair of runs and cut into Post 23’s lead.
Portsmouth continued its trend at the plate in the bottom of the second inning, as they scored one run in the inning when Lowe drove in Jenkins with a single.
After two innings of play, Post 23 held on to a 6-2 lead over Post 62.
Chillicothe added two more runs over the next two innings, the third and fourth, bringing the game to a 6-4 advantage for Post 23 as they came to the plate in the bottom of the fourth.
Portsmouth added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth, as they scored another two runs in the inning. Jenkins and Lowe both scored to give Post 23 an 8-4 lead.
In the fifth inning Chillicothe fired back adding a couple of runs to pull within two runs of Portsmouth, 8-6.
Post 23 once again answered the call during the game and came up with another run in the bottom of the sixth inning. JJ Stamper ran home after a throwing error by the Post 62 third baseman, giving his team a 9-6 lead over Post 62.
Portsmouth finished off Post 62 in the seventh inning, which saw second baseman Cassidy make a leaping grab to secure the final out of the game, and a 9-7 Post 23 victory.
With the win, Post 23 improves to 5-13 on the season, with a 1-4 record in Region V. The victory over Post 62 was Portsmouth’s first league win since the team was revived this season after having a several year absence.
Reach Michael Hamilton at 740-353-3101, ext 1931, or on Twitter @MikeHamilton82.