Portsmouth shuts down Middletown, 3-0
PORTSMOUTH — The Portsmouth Patriots varsity baseball team rebounded after a tough 2-1 loss to Barrington on the road yesterday to blank Middletown at home today, 3-0.
Starting pitcher Alexander Kirby didn’t allow a run through the full seven innings, and the team found a way to manufacture runs through its small-ball style of play.
“That’s our identify,” said PHS coach Ron Westmoreland. “We don’t have a lot of big hitters. We’ve got to bunch singles together and move runners (through) situational hitting — getting guys from second to third and then looking for that sac fly or base hit. Our offense is going to come from doing the little things like we did today.”
The Patriots didn’t score until the bottom of the fourth, when Sam Banks stroked a double to score Ian Smith. Later in the frame, a sacrifice fly ball by Peter Lowen scored Banks from third.
Portsmouth scored its third run in the sixth, when Conor Struckman singled to score Kirby. “Connor Struckman had a couple of big hits and some good base running,” said Mr. Westmoreland.
A chance to score earlier in the inning was foiled when Banks — who led off with a single, was later tagged out at home on a squeeze play bunt by Kirby.
“We have to score runs anyway we can. We’ve got to have good situational hitting. Peter Lowan did a nice job with a sac fly,” said the coach, who also gave props to Kirby for his performance.
“He’s on extra rest right now. He looks strong; he’s throwing strikes, pounding the zone, getting ahead in counts and all the good things pitchers do. And, the defense made plays behind him,” he said, giving a nod to Evan Moore, who was playing out of position at third base.
“Our pitching and our defense is our strength and that showed today,” he said. “We really shoot for scoring three or four runs every game and hope that our pitching and defense can do the rest. That’s what happened today; it’s a big win for us.”
The Patriots have a tough schedule next week, he said. The team faces South Kingstown on Monday, Pilgrim on Wednesday and North Kingstown on Friday.
“There’s a lot of parity in our division right now. Every game is anybody’s game, which is great,” said Mr. Westmoreland.