Mustangs run-rule Trojans to win district title

Brad Morris
SportingPumpkin.com

CHILLICOTHE — Sometimes the wait is worth it.


Westfall took advantage of three errors in the first inning to jump out to a 3-0 lead on Saturday, but then its offense was unable to cross the plate again over its ensuing four at-bats.


“(Faith Phillips) was good and had a lot of movement on her pitches, so we had to move up in the box before her pitches really broke,” Westfall senior second baseman Kylee Henry said.

Westfall senior Kylee Henry looks to squeeze a liner on Saturday during a district final against Portsmouth. http://garysimages.com

The Mustangs were done waiting to score again as they sent 10 batters to the plate in the sixth, produced seven hits and seven runs, and completed a 10-0 run-rule win over Portsmouth in a Division III Southeast District final held on the athletic campus of Unioto High School.


“We had the mentality that we needed to get the job done and once we started to score everything fell into place,” Henry said.


The Mustangs (24-5) celebrated winning their fourth district championship in program history and first since 2017 following the game. They advance to a regional semifinal on Wednesday against Ironton (26-4), a 3-2 winner over Adena in its district final. First pitch is slated for 2 p.m. back at Unioto.


“We have a great tradition here at Westfall and to pick up and carry on that tradition means a lot to our girls and also to our coaches since this is our first year doing this,” Westfall coach Lance Heath said.


The Mustangs accounted for 15 hits against Portsmouth pitching, led by Delana Landefeld going 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two runs scored. Makayla Cook went 3-for-4 with a double and three RBIs, Henry was 2-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, Maddie Mullins also went 2-for-3 with an RBI and Ava Heath turned in a 2-for-3 evening.

Westfall’s Maddie Mullins had a pair of hits on Saturday in a 10-0 district final win over Portsmouth. http://garysimages.com


“We had a couple of hits and put some pressure on Portsmouth there in the first to get out to a good start, but then I felt like we were a little complacent with our bats after that until the sixth,” Coach Heath said. “We had a hit here and there, but we really didn’t put things together until the sixth when just about everyone hit.”


Back-to-back singles from Heath and Landefeld and a flawless bunt courtesy of Abbie Bickenheuser loaded the bases with no outs in the Westfall sixth.


After Olivia Dumm grounded into a force play at home, the Trojans elected to try and let a swinging bunt from Mullins go foul, but it stayed fair and allowed Landefeld to cross the dish.


Henry followed with a double deep into the right field gap that drove in Bickenheuser and Dumm to extend the lead to 6-0.


“Coach told me to bunt the first time and I missed my opportunity, so he told me to just go up there and hit it,” Henry said. “I don’t have very much power, but I squared up the ball there and drove it pretty far.”


Cook then smacked a double to left that brought around courtesy runner Emma Henry and Kylee Henry.


Leah Ragland greeted reliever Olivia Dickerson with a bunt single that moved Cook along to third.
Ragland took second on defensive indifference and, following a strikeout, a wild pitch and throwing error on the same play allowed both runners to score and complete the run-rule victory.


Dumm tossed a complete game for the Mustangs, allowing five hits and striking out six batters.


Portsmouth (21-8) put together its biggest threat in the fifth with runners on second and third and only one out in the inning. Dumm struck out Emily Cheatham and Olivia Ramey swinging to end the threat and preserve the 3-0 lead.


“Portsmouth got a couple hits off of me in that inning, so I knew that I had to get stronger and work harder to get them out,” Dumm said. “I wanted to be there for my team and leave everything that I had out there on the field.”


Heath credited Dumm’s competitive nature for helping to make the difference.


“There were a couple of times when Portsmouth had runners in scoring position, especially there in the (fifth), and Olivia really buckled down and just flat out competed there in the circle to protect the lead,” he said. “That was big because if they get a hit there, it’s potentially a (3-2) game and Portsmouth would have felt like they had some momentum.”


The Mustangs soaked in the win, posing for photos together with their newly earned medals and trophy, and then gave Heath a water cooler bath following the awards presentation.


“It feels really great to be able to win district as seniors for the first time and to experience this,” Henry said. “Our team is pretty young, but they pulled together for us and for each other.”

Westfall’s Leah Ragland snags a fly ball in center field on Saturday against Portsmouth. http://garysimages.com

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