RACINE, Ohio — The easiest way to stop a comeback is with offense of your own.
The Belpre baseball team cut Southern’s lead to just two runs, in the top of the sixth inning of Thursday’s Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division tilt at Star Mill Park. However, Southern answered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to all but seal the 9-3 victory.
Southern (10-4, 9-3 TVC Hocking) — which has now won four of its last five games —got out to a 3-0 lead, as Logan Drummer, Dylan Smith and Billy Harmon each scored in the bottom of the first inning.
Neither team scored for the next three frames, but the Tornadoes got back on the board in the bottom of fifth, when Trey Pickens doubled home Smith, and Haden Miller doubled home Harmon.
The Golden Eagles (7-12, 5-8) finally broke through in the top of the sixth inning, manufacturing three runs without the benefit of a hit.
Leading 5-3, the Tornadoes put together a two-out rally in the bottom of the sixth. Harmon increased the SHS lead to four runs, driving in Pickens and Clayton Wood. Blake Johnson doubled home Harmon and then scored on an error for the final run of Southern’s 9-3 win.
SHS freshman Coltin Parker earned the victory for the hosts, striking out seven batters in five shut out innings, in which he allowed four hits and two walks. Gage Shuler earned the save, striking out one batter in two frames of relief. Shuler allowed three runs on five walks, one hit batter and one hit.
Collins suffered the setback on the mound for Belpre.
The SHS offense was led by Harmon, who was 2-for-3 with three runs scored and two runs batted in. Smith was 2-for-4 with two runs scored, while Pickens, Johnson and Miller each doubled once and drove in a run, with Pickens and Johnson both scoring once. Jensen Anderson had one RBI for the victors, while Wood and Drummer both scored once.
Tullius led the guests with a 2-for-3 day at the plate.
Both teams committed three errors. The Golden Eagles left nine runners on base, one more than SHS.
Southern also defeated the Golden Eagles on April 3, by a 5-1 margin, in Washington County.
After hosting Federal Hocking on Friday, the Tornadoes will be off until Wednesday, when they visit Eastern.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.