PORTSMOUTH — American Legion Baseball play was underway in Portsmouth again Friday evening as the James Dickey Post 23 squad faced off against the Chillicothe team of Post 757.
The Portsmouth squad jumped out to an early lead, taking advantage of three errors in the first inning that went on to result in two early unearned runs. The game was a grind overall, as batters from both teams forced each pitcher to work deep into the count almost every single at bat.
Up 2-0, Post 23 threatened to score once more in the bottom of the third. Drew Cassidy and JJ Stamper both reached base on singles, but the Chillicothe team shut them down the rest of the inning. The last out was a great pickoff throw by catcher Bowen Dratwa.
One of the bright spots for the Portsmouth squad was the pitching of Bradley Gee. Despite throwing numerous pitches, he completed the game and gave up only four hits and no earned runs.
“Bradley pitched a great game,” said Post 23 manager Matt Miller. “His count got up there a little bit but he’s a competitor. He really wanted to finish the game.”
The James Dickey Post went on to score five more runs in the fifth inning. At one point, the bases were loaded and Gee helped his own cause with a sacrifice fly RBI. The next batter, Brandon Denney would bring the other two runners home with a triple.
Post 757 would score one unearned run in the top of the sixth, which would bring the game to its eventual final score of 7-1.
“It was a team effort tonight,” said Miller. “It has been the last few games. We put the ball in play. That’s always the key, you have to give yourself a chance to score runs. The fifth inning gave us a boost, we weren’t sure if the two run lead would hold. It helped us feel relaxed and close it out.”
Post 23 hosts Waverly’s post 142 next Wednesday at the Branch Rickey Park, next to Spartan stadium. First pitch is at 6 P.M.
“Legion ball is a great experience for the kids,” said Miller. “They come from all over the area, it’s all Scioto County kids. They form a special bond with each other, and they gain a lot of baseball experience. Tonight, they got to face off an outstanding team in the 757 squad. That’s why I’m proud of them, Chillicothe swept us in the double header earlier in the year and my kids were ready to battle tonight.”
With five days off, the Post 23 players will then face a gauntlet: they will have seven games in nine days kicking off with their match up against Waverly.
“I know the kids are up for it,” said Miller. “They will get their rest and we will go back to work Wednesday.”