PORTSMOUTH — The Patriots’ fast-pitch softball team’s season came to an end at the hands of a pitcher they had never seen before.
Portsmouth High fell to Exeter/West Greenwich High School in the single-elimination first round of the Division II playoffs Thursday at home. The Scarlet Knights’ team captain Andrea Artesani kept the lady Patriots off balance through seven innings, throwing heat past late-swinging bats and mixing things up with the occasional off-speed pitch.
Artesani struck out 11 batters and gave up only two singles, by the Patriots’ April Younkin and Nikki Eggeman.
“She’s probably the fastest we’re seen all season,” said PHS coach Cortney Lefebvre. “We just don’t have that type of pitching in our division. We don’t see it all season and then come playoff time, that’s what we get hit with. She had a lot of fastballs and she was placing the ball really well, inside and outside.”
PHS starting pitcher Alyssa Silveira gave up all eight runs on 11 hits. She struck out two batters.
While there were few offensive highlights for Portsmouth — not counting a foul ball that landed directly into an open backpack hanging from the dugout fence — the Patriots had a few defensive gems in the loss.
Center fielder and team captain Brianna Heller made an outstanding diving catch and then threw to second to double up a runner caught off the bag. Later in the game, PHS catcher Erica Chase laid out in the dirt to catch a foul popup to end an inning.
After the game, Ms. Lefebvre told her players she was proud of how they performed this year.
“I told them we had a great season — nothing to hang our heads about,” she said. “We ended up 12-7; it was a good year for us. We were the ones that gave St. Ray’s their only loss this year.”
The coach is also looking forward to next year, despite losing four seniors.
“We have a great group of kids coming back. We’ve got some holes to fill, but I’m confident that we’ll be all right,” she said.