MERCERVILLE, Ohio — They finished what they started.
The Southern softball team built a 7-1 lead through four innings and ultimately held on Tuesday night en route to a 9-7 victory over host South Gallia in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Gallia County.
The Lady Tornadoes (6-11, 4-10 TVC Hocking) led wire-to-wire in the seven-inning affair, as the guests plated three runs in the top of the first.
Abby Cummins singled in Ally Shuler with the eventual game-winning run with two away in the frame, then Emma Cooper — a courtesy runner for Cummins — scored on an Avery King single to make it 2-0. King also scored on an error that allowed Baylee Grueser to reach safely.
The Lady Rebels (3-13, 2-13) rallied back to within two as Sydney St. Clair scored on a two-out error in the bottom of the second, but the Purple and Gold answered with two runs in each of the next two frames.
Grueser singled home both Shuler and Cooper with two away in the top of the third, then Brooke Crisp singled home Valerie Ritchart to start the fourth. Crisp later came home on a one-out single by Shuler that increased the lead out 7-1 after four full frames.
With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the fifth, the Red and Gold found a spark as Chloe Payne grounded into a fielder’s choice that allowed Makayla Waugh to score. Gabby Spurlock followed with a double that plated both Hurlow and Payne while trimming the deficit down to 7-4.
Southern retaliated with a run in the top of the sixth as King received a bases-loaded, two-out walk that forced in Crisp for an 8-4 edge.
Payne drove in both St. Clair and Waugh with a two-out single in the bottom of the sixth, then Hurlow scored on an error that allowed Spurlock to reach safely while trimming the deficit down to one.
Shuler tacked on an insurance run in the seventh with a two-out single that plated Crisp for a 9-7 edge. SGHS had the tying run at the plate with two outs in the home half of the seventh, but a fielder’s choice putout at second ultimately completed the outcome.
The Lady Tornadoes salvaged a season split with South Gallia after dropping a 10-6 decision at Star Mill Park back on March 29.
The Lady Rebels outhit the guests by a 12-9 overall margin and also committed four of the seven errors in the contest. Both teams stranded nine runners on base.
Cummins was the winning pitcher of record after allowing three earned runs, 12 hits and one walk over seven innings while striking out three. Waugh took the loss after surrendering eight runs (six earned), eight hits and five walks over six frames while fanning five.
Shuler led SHS with three hits and Cummins added two safeties, followed by King, Grueser, Ritchart and Crisp with a hit each. Shuler, King and Grueser each drove in two RBIs apiece, while Crisp scored three runs.
Hurlow paced the hosts with three hits, followed by Waugh, Madisyn Spurlock and Isabella Cochran with two safeties each. Payne, Gabby Spurlock and Madison Lucas also had a hit apiece in the setback.
Payne drove in a team-high three RBIs, while Waugh and Hurlow each scored a pair of runs.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.