Post 23 drops pair of one-run games

June 21, 2013

Cody Leist

PDT Sports Writer

CHILLICOTHE —Two different games, two different energy levels, but the same result for Portsmouth Post 23 Friday to start the 2013 Jim Jadwin Memorial Tournament.

One run defeats.

Portsmouth dropped the opener 3-2 to the Chillicothe Post 757 Colts at Unioto High School then let a 3-1 lead midway through the third at J.W. Hoffman Park turn into a 4-3 loss to Pickerington Post 283 from a walkoff single. Post 23 coach Jack Branon was pleased yet confused as to how his team was able to turn their act around from the first contest to the second.

“I just like to think we woke up,” Branon said. “We couldn’t play any worse than what we played in the first game.”

Since Portsmouth and Post 757 had a prior district doubleheader postponed, the two teams agreed to make Friday’s encounter count towards those standings. Post 23 jumped out to the early 2-0 lead in the second when Zach Brown’s RBI single scored Austin Howard and Wesley Book scored on a Barry Allen balk.

Unfortunately, that was all of the run production Portsmouth would get in the contest as Allen held Post 23 to four hits and struck out 11 batters. The Colts tied the game in the fourth with Sean Lucas’ two-run double. Luke Sarver had the eventual game-winner in the next inning as his RBI double scored Trent Downs.

In the second game, the two teams had to wait for more than two hours to begin their contest as Sandusky Post 83 defeated Waverly Post 142 10-6 in 14 innings. The delay appeared to have helped Portsmouth against the defending state American Legion champions.

Post 23 started the game with consecutive bases-loaded RBI walks drawn by Brady Knittel and Matt Penix to score Alex Shears and Brady Johnson. The 35-pitch inning by Will VanHoose was one of the major factors of his removal from the mound after two-and-one-third innings of work.

VanHoose did not leave with too deep of a hole as Chris Brake’s RBI single scored Devin Fisk in the first. However, Portsmouth took a 3-1 lead into the third when Daulton Kenyon drove in Knittel.

The win seemed to be in the cards for Post 23 starter Zach Brown, who went six innings, allowing three runs, struck out four and only threw more than 20 pitches in an inning once, which came in the sixth. In that frame, Derek Helbing tied the game when he scored on a wild pitch.

“(Brown) just pitched his guts out,” Branon said. “He had them off-balanced. That’s the defending state champion, he just went out there and just went at them.”

Portsmouth had two major opportunities to expand the lead. The first came in the fourth when Knittel hit a double but Johnson was tagged out at home to end the threat.

“Two outs, bottom of the order coming up, we just gambled that they were going to mess up the relay,” Branon said. “They didn’t, they made the play.”

The final chance came in the seventh. With Kenyon up to the plate with the bases loaded and one out, a squeeze play was called. Unfortunately, Kenyon could not get the bunt down and Penix was caught stealing at home.

“We weren’t going to (squeeze because) I don’t really like to squeeze with the bases loaded but with one out, it was a good situation,” Branon said. “Matt told me he could get a jump because he felt like he had the pitcher timed to get the jump on him. He did, he got a great jump but we just missed the bunt.”

Howard took the mound in the seventh and walked Jordan Grubb to start the inning. After a sacrifice and another walk, Chad Burge brought in the winning run with a single.

“We really had a shot at them,” Branon said. “To their credit, when they had to score, they did.”

Post 23 will play two more games Saturday. The first contest, a 1:30 p.m. first pitch, will be against East Lansing (Michigan) Post 205 at VA Memorial Stadium and the second game, which will be against Berkley (Michigan) Post 374, will take place at 4 p.m. at Zane Trace High School.

Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or cleist@civitasmedia.com. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.

Game 1

Portsmouth 23 020 000 0 — 2 4 2

Chillicothe 757 000 210 x — 3 6 2

Portsmouth 23 — Kenyon 0-2 (SAC), Howard 0-3 (R), Penix 1-2 (SAC), Book 1-3 (R), Brown 1-3 (RBI), Cassidy 1-3.

Chillicothe 757 — Mavis 2-2 (BB, 2 SB), Downs 0-2 (BB, R), Sarver 1-3 (2B, RBI), Dove 1-2 (BB, SB, R), R. Milliken 1-3 (R), Lucas 1-3 (2B, 2 RBI).

W — Allen (3-0)

L — Johnson (0-3)

Records — Portsmouth 23 6-13 (2-2); Chillicothe 757 5-9 (2-5).

Game 2

Portsmouth 23 201 000 0 — 3 8 2

Pickerington 283 101 001 1 — 4 6 1

Portsmouth 23 — Kenyon 2-5 (RBI), Book 0-3 (BB), Shears 0-4 (R), Johnson 2-3 (BB, R), Howard 0-3 (BB), Knittel 2-3 (2B, BB, RBI, R), Penix 0-1 (3 BB, RBI), Poage 1-3 (BB), Cassidy 1-2 (BB, SAC).

Pickerington 283 — Fisk 2-4 (3B, SB, R), Schmidt 1-4 (2B, R), Grubb 0-2 (2 BB, SB, R), Brake 1-1 (2 SAC, HBP, 2 RBI), Asbury 1-2 (BB, HBP), Helbeing 0-1 (2 BB, R), Baker 0-1 (2 SAC), Burge 1-1 (RBI).

W — Baker (n/a)

L — Howard (1-1)

Records — Portsmouth 6-14; Pickerington 283 19-2.