PDT Sports Writer
Portsmouth and Wheelersburg hold a special rivalry when it comes to Scioto County athletics.
The newest edition to the feud was written Thursday night when the Trojans hired former Pirate and Kent State standout Jessica Blanton to become their newest softball coach, The Daily Times learned. Blanton replaces Teresa Ruby, who was hired to take the same position at Wheelersburg earlier this school year.
Blanton — a two-time First Team All-Ohioan, a two-time SOC II Player of the Year and a three-time First Team All-SOC selection at catcher — helped lead the Pirates to two conference and three district titles. In the three district championship seasons, Bloom-Carroll (2006 and 2007) and Hebron Lakewood (2008) eliminated Wheelersburg in the regionals and went on to win the state that season.
As a member of the Golden Flashes, Blanton proved her place as she started in 108 of 122 games she played to start her career. As a sophomore, she did not commit an error and threw out 11 runners. In her junior season, she drove in 33 runs, which was tied for 11th all-time in program history.
During her senior campaign, she led the team in on-base percentage (.441), walks (36) and tied for the team lead with five home runs during Mid-American Conference play. She also earned the Most Outstanding Performance Team award in her final season.
She will get her first taste outside of the lines March 29 when Portsmouth welcomes North Adams for a doubleheader. The day will also mark the opening of the Trojans’ new softball facility.
Multiple attempts to reach Blanton Friday afternoon for comment were unsuccessful.
Cody Leist can be reached at 353-3101, ext. 294, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking sports news, follow Cody on Twitter @CodyLeist.