RACINE, Ohio — A definitive sign of progress.
The Southern baseball team rallied from an early 1-0 deficit by plating four unanswered runs Friday night en route to a 4-1 victory over visiting Eastern in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup at Star Mill Park in Meigs County.
The host Tornadoes (5-7, 5-4 TVC Hocking) surrendered three hits in the top of the second inning, which allowed the Eagles (7-5, 6-3) to secure their only lead of the night after Dylan Swatzel singled home Kaleb Hill for a 1-0 advantage.
SHS, however, allowed only one hit the rest of the way — then went to work on mounting a comeback.
Dylan Smith led off the bottom of the fifth with a double, then advanced to third on a one-out double by Trey Pickens. Blake Johnson followed with a ground out that allowed Smith to score, tying the contest at one apiece.
The big blow came in the bottom of the sixth as Billy Harmon, Haden Miller and Garrett Wolfe all singled to load the bases with nobody out, then Wesley Clark delivered a single that plated both Harmon and Miller — allowing SHS to take its first lead of the night at 3-1.
Wolfe later came around to score on an error that followed a single by Logan Drummer, making it a 4-1 contest headed into the seventh.
The Eagles managed a baserunner when Swatzel reached safely on an error with one-out, but the guests struck out in their next two plate appearances — wrapping up the three-run outcome.
The Purple and Gold outhit the Eagles by a 13-4 overall margin and committed only two of the seven errors in the contest. The hosts stranded 10 runners on base, while Eastern left eight on the bags.
Clayton Wood was the winning pitcher of record after allowing no runs, one hit and five walks over five innings of relief while fanning three. Pickens started for SHS and lasted two innings, allowing an earned run, a walk and three hits over two frames while striking out two.
Ethen Richmond suffered the setback after surrendering four runs (three earned), 10 hits and one walk over six-plus innings while striking out eight. Cameron Richmond also allowed three hits and fanned two in an inning of relief work.
Smith led Southern with three hits, followed by Harmon and Wolfe with a pair of safeties apiece. Drummer, Pickens, Johnson, Wood, Miller and Clark also had a hit each for the victors. Both Richmonds, Hill and Swatzel had a hit apiece for the guests.
Southern salvaged a season split with the Eagles after dropping an 11-3 decision at EHS back on March 29. The Tornadoes have now won two straight and four of their last five overall, while EHS had a three-game winning streak snapped.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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