MASON, W.Va. — As it turns out, 16 days didn’t make that much of a difference after all.
The Eastern baseball team — which defeated Wahama by an 8-5 tally on April 2 in Meigs County — survived a late rally from those same White Falcons on Thursday at Claflin Stadium, where the Eagles escaped with a 7-5 victory.
Eastern (12-0, 10-0 TVC Hocking) — which never trailed in either meeting with the White Falcons (16-4, 10-3) — broke the scoreless tie in Thursday’s bout before the first out was recorded, as Matthew Blanchard singled home Blake Newland. Still with no outs in the frame, Nate Durst hit a three-run triple and then scored on a Conner Ridenour single, giving the guests a 4-0 edge.
Wahama — which had won eight straight headed into play — got one run back on a two-out triple by Tanner Smith in the bottom of the first, but left the senior stranded on third.
After a scoreless second inning, Eastern went ahead 5-1 when Ridenour singled home Blanchard in the top of the third. EHS added two more to its lead with a two-run double by Isaiah Fish in the following inning. The Eagles left two runners on base in fourth, and didn’t reach scoring position again in the contest.
The White Falcons began fighting back in the bottom of the fourth, with Trevor Hunt singling home Ethyn Barnitz. The hosts left a runners on second base in the fourth and fifth innings, but cut the Eagle lead to 7-3 in the bottom of the sixth, as Barnitz scored on an error.
In the bottom of the seventh, Smith singled home Antonio Serevicz and then score on an error, and the White Falcons loaded the bases with two outs. The Eagles, however, got the strikeout they needed, keeping the potential winning run on first base and sealing the 7-5 win.
Blanchard was the winning pitcher of record in 6.2 innings for Eastern, striking out four and walking six, while surrendering five runs, four earned, on 10 hits. Colton Reynolds claimed the save, striking out one and walking one in .1 innings for relief.
Tanner Smith took the pitching loss in three innings for the hosts, allowing five runs, four earned, on seven hits, while striking out one and walking one. Jonathan Frye pitched two innings, striking out two and walking one, while giving up two earned runs on three hits. Serevicz tossed the final two frames without allowing a hit or run, striking out three and walking one.
Leading EHS at the plate, Reynolds was 2-for-3 with two doubles and one run scored, Fish was 2-for-4 with a double, a run scored and two runs batted in, while Ridenour was 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Durst tripled once, scored once and drove in two runs for the victors, while Blanchard, Newland and Brayden Smith each singled once, with Blanchard and Newland both scoring twice, and Blanchard earning an RBI.
David Hendrick paced the White Falcons on offense, going 3-for-5. Tanner Smith was 2-for-4 with a triple, a run scored and two runs batted in, while Barnitz went 2-for-3 with a double and two runs. Serevicz singled twice and scored twice for hosts, while Hunt singled once and picked up an RBI.
The Eagles committed two errors and left seven runners on base, while Wahama had three errors and 11 runners stranded.
On Monday, the Eagles will host Federal Hocking, while Wahama visits Belpre.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.