Brock Netter, Staff Writer
CHILLICOTHE — It’s a standard that’s been established, and one that continues to be upheld.
With two titles already under its belt this season, Westfall (24-5) added a third as it ousted Portsmouth 10-0, claiming a Division III district championship on Saturday — the first since 2017.
“I was left a great competitive program when I was hired, and we continue to run it in the same manner,” Westfall coach Lance Heath said. “[Former Westfall] Coach [Fred] Redman expected everyone to compete and play for one another. Nothing has changed, and we’re successful because of it.”
“I’m super proud of this team,” Westfall senior Kylee Henry said. “The past two seasons, we’ve gotten to the district final, but have fallen short. I’ve never had the chance to celebrate a district title so this is a great feeling.”
Portsmouth (21-8) did itself no favors in the beginning by committing a fielding error, followed by a throwing error, plating a pair of Mustangs.
Then Makayla Cook stepped up and laced an RBI single to left field that extended the lead to 3-0.
Over the next five innings, Westfall continued to get runners on base but Portsmouth’s defense bended, yet never broke.
However, for how solid Portsmouth’s defense was playing, the offense had issues stringing together hits against Olivia Dumm in the circle.
She ran into trouble just once in the top of the sixth after Portsmouth had runners on second and third with one out. But being the competitor she is, she struck out the next two batters to end the threat.
“We pitched out of a couple jams and that gave us some new life at that point,” Heath said. “Olivia threw a great game, competed and got some big strikeouts in big spots.”
That was Portsmouth’s last chance to threaten Westfall, and the Mustangs made sure of it.
With the bases loaded and just one out, Maddie Mullins legged out an infield RBI single before Henry drilled a two-run double to right field for a 6-0 lead.
“Someone behind home plate was just telling me to relax and do whatever I needed to do to get the runs in,” Henry said. “I’m not much of a power hitter, usually I just move and advance runners so it felt really good to hit one that clean.”
Cook followed suit with a two-run double to left field before a passed ball and a throwing error scored the final two runs to cap a Westfall title victory.
“We wanted to start on top and jump ahead early,” Westfall’s Abbie Bickenheuser said. “We stayed focused and kept that determination all the way through. We had one job at the end of the day and that was to win.”
Dumm went the distance for the win, allowing six hits and striking out five batters.
Cook finished 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, followed by Henry going 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs.
Maddie Mullins also went 2-for-3 with two runs and an RBI, while Delana Landefeld was 4-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored.
Westfall returns to action in a Division III regional semifinal against Ironton, a 3-2 winner over Adena, at 2 p.m., Wednesday at Unioto.
“It’s great to win, but we have to stay humble,” Bickenheuser said. “There’s still one job to do, which is win and survive to play another game.”