PORTSMOUTH, Ohio — The Blue Angels caught a break … and absolutely made the most of it.
With Rock Hill knocking off Coal Grove just 24 hours earlier, the Gallia Academy softball team was able to join the Lady Hornets atop the final Ohio Valley Conference standings on Thursday night following a 13-1 pounding of host Portsmouth in Scioto County.
The Blue Angels (17-4, 11-3 OVC) led wire-to-wire in the five-inning affair, as the guests built a 6-1 cushion through one inning of play and ultimately never looked back.
The Blue and White followed by adding three runs in the third, another in the fourth and three more during the fifth while building a dozen-run advantage.
The Lady Trojans received a one-out walk in the fifth and had another batter get hit by a pitch with two away, but a fly out to centerfield ultimately completed the mercy-rule triumph.
With the victory, GAHS was able to secure a part of the program’s first-ever championship as members of the Ohio Valley Conference. The Blue Angels also claimed a season sweep of PHS after posting a 14-4 decision in Centenary back on April 13.
The Blue Angels sent 11 batters to the plate in the top half of the first, which yielded six runs on six hits and a pair of hit batters. Bailey Young tripled to lead off the game and scored the eventual game-winner on a Ryelee Sipple single.
Cassie Potts drew a leadoff walk to start the PHS half of the first, then an error moved Potts over to third with one away. Morgan Reedy lifted a sacrifice fly to center that allowed Potts to come home while cutting the deficit down to 6-1.
With two away in the top of the third, Alex Barnes tripled into the left-center field gap as both Hunter Copley and Bailey Young scored, giving the guests an 8-1 edge. Barnes scored on a Sipple double one batter later, increasing the cushion eight midway through three frames.
GAHS tacked on another score in the fourth as Allie Young delivered a two-out double right-center, bringing Bailey Meadows home for a 10-1 advantage.
Chasity Adams singled in Barnes for a 10-run edge, then Adams and Sipple both scored on a Malerie Stanley double that completed the scoring at 13-1.
The Blue Angels outhit Portsmouth by a sizable 17-3 overall margin and both teams also committed an error apiece. Gallia Academy stranded eight runners on base, while the hosts left six on the bags.
Copley was the winning pitcher of record after allowing an unearned run, three hits and three walks over five innings while striking out five. Leigh Tackett took the loss after surrendering 12 earned runs, 17 hits and one walk over five frames while fanning one.
Stanley and Copley led the Blue Angels with three hits apiece, followed by Barnes, Sipple, Adams, Meadows and Bailey Young with two safeties each. Allie Young also had a hit in the triumph.
Adams and Stanley both drove in three RBIs, with Barnes and Sipple also knocking in two RBIs each. Barnes also scored a team-best three runs.
Tackett, Hannah Adkins and Jacqueline Batista had the lone safeties for the Lady Trojans.
The Blue Angels open Division II tournament play on Wednesday when they host Unioto in a sectional final contest at 5 p.m.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.