Lady Eagles go 1-1 at Valley of Thunder

By Alex Hawley -

WILLOW WOOD, Ohio — The Lady Eagles suffered their first loss of the season, but not all was lost.

The Eastern softball team won its opening game of the Valley of Thunder tournament, at Symmes Valley High School on Saturday, defeating Berea Midpark by a 10-7 count. However, in their second game, the Lady Eagles dropped a 6-2 decision to Lakota East.

In their first game, the Lady Eagles (8-1) took a three-run lead in the bottom of the first inning, as Emmalea Durst doubled home Ally Barber, Cera Grueser drove in Durst, and Taylynn Rockhold singled home Katlyn Barber.

Berea Midpark (3-8) charged into the lead in the top of the second inning, scoring six runs on the strength of six hits, including five extra-base hits.

Eastern got one run back in the bottom of the second when Durst drove home Courtney Fitzgerald.

In the bottom of the third, Eastern tied the game when Rockhold doubled home both Grueser and Katlyn Barber. EHS regained the lead, at 7-6, in the next at-bat, as Rockhold moved to third on a passed ball and then scored on a Mollie Maxon sacrifice fly.

Following a scoreless fourth frame for both sides, the EHS lead grew to 9-6 in the bottom of the fifth, as Katlyn Barber scored on a double by Grueser, who was then doubled in by Rockhold.

The Lady Titans scored once in the top of the sixth, but EHS Grueser drove in Durst in the bottom of the inning, for the final run of Eastern’s 10-7 win.

Elaina Hensley struck out one batter in a complete game effort, earning the win for EHS, while allowing seven runs on 11 hits and three walks. Sienna Apel suffered the setback for Midpark.

Rockhold led the victors with a 3-for-4 day at the plate, that included two doubles, one run scored and four runs batted in. Grueser was 2-for-4 with a double, two runs scored and three RBIs, Durst was 2-for-4 with two runs scored and two RBIs, while Fitzgerald was 2-for-3 with one run scored.

Katlyn Barber singled once and scored a game-best three runs, Ally Barber chipped in with a single and a run scored, while Sidney Cook singled once and Maxon added an RBI.

Midpark — a Division I school — was led by Ashley Boledovic, who was 3-for-4 with two doubles, two RBIs and one run scored. Sarah Harris blasted a two-run home run for the Lady Titans, in the second inning.

Both teams had one error in the game. Eastern left five runners on base, while Midpark stranded six.

In the second game, Lakota East (8-2-1) — also a Division I school — claimed a 1-0 lead in the first inning, then scored twice in each the third and fourth frames.

The Lady Eagles didn’t reach third base until the bottom of the seventh inning, when the Lady Hawks escaped a bases loaded jam to cap off the 5-0 win.

Cali Hoffman earned the pitching victory for Lakota East, while Sophia Carleton suffered the loss for Eastern. Carleton pitched 2.1 innings, allowed three runs on two hit batters and two walks.

Alexus Metheney pitched .2 frames in relief for EHS, striking out one and walking two, while allowing two runs on four hits. Hensley finished the game in the circle for the Lady Eagles, striking out one and allowing one hit, in four shut out innings.

Katlyn Barber, Kelsey Casto, Abbie Hawley and Hannah Sharp each singled once in the setback.

Lakota East had six players with one hit apiece, with Rachel Lewis scoring twice for the Lady Hawks.

In the second game, the victors committed three errors and left eight runners on base, while Eastern played defense without an error, but left seven runners stranded.

The Lady Eagles resume league play on Tuesday, when they visit Federal Hocking.

Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.

By Alex Hawley