HARTFORD, W.Va. — As it turns out, five days doesn’t make that much of a difference after all.
After handing the Eastern softball team its first league loss of the season, by an 8-7 count last Wednesday, Wahama was at it again on Monday in Mason County. It took one extra inning, but the Lady Falcons claimed another 8-7 victory over EHS, giving Wahama a lead in the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division race by one game in the win column.
After two outs in the top of the first inning the Lady Eagles (12-3, 11-2 TVC Hocking) rallied. Cera Grueser doubled home both Sidney Cook and Katlyn Barber, and then Grueser scored on a Taylynn Rockhold double. Abbie Hawley singled home Rockhold to give EHS a 4-0 advantage.
Eastern added a run to its advantage in the third inning, as Courtney Fitzgerald sacrificed home Katlyn Barber. With two outs in the top of the fourth the Lady Eagle lead grew to 7-0, as Katlyn Barber hit a two-run home run. After the blast, EHS managed only three hits for the remainder of the game.
The Lady Falcons (18-8, 12-2) — winners of nine straight decisions — were held to just one hit over the first three innings, but snapped out of the cold spell in the fourth. Two hits, one walk, one error and one hit batter allowed Ashtyn Russell, Logan Eades, Maddy VanMatre and Emily VanMatre to score and cut the WHS deficit to 7-4.
Russell singled home Hannah Rose in the bottom of the fifth inning, as Wahama pulled within two runs.
Wahama was retired in order in the sixth inning, but tied the game at seven, with two outs in the bottom of the seventh, when Taylor McGrew doubled home Rose and Hannah Billups.
WHS stranded the winning run in scoring position in the seventh, but retired Eastern in order in the top of the eighth.
With two outs in the bottom of the eighth, Rose hit a bloop-single over third base, bringing home Cynthia Hendrick from second base, for the game-winning run.
McGrew was the winning pitcher of record for Wahama, allowing seven runs, five earned, on 13 hits and a walk. The WHS senior struck out seven batters in a complete game effort.
Elaina Hensley struck out five and suffered the loss in a complete game for Eastern, allowing eight runs, five earned, on eight hits and four walks.
Rose led the WHS offense, going 4-for-5 with two runs scored and the game-winning RBI. McGrew doubled once and drove in two runs, while Emily VanMatre, Maddy VanMatre and Ashtyn Russell each singled once and scored once, with Emily VanMatre marking two RBIs and Russell adding one RBI. Hendrick, Eades and Billups each scored one run for the victors.
Leading Eastern’s offense was Rockhold, who went 3-for-4 with one double, one run scored and one RBI. Katlyn Barber was 2-for-3 with a home run, three runs scored and two RBIs, Grueser was 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two RBIs, while Cook was 2-for-4 with a double and two runs scored.
Hawley, Emmalea Durst and Hannah Bailey each singled once, with Hawley earning an RBI. Fitzgerald also drove in one run for the guests.
The Lady Eagles committed three errors in the setback, one more than WHS. A total of 12 runners were left on base, six for each side.
Both teams are back in action on Wednesday, with Eastern hosting Southern and Wahama hosting Miller.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.