VINCENT, Ohio — The defense made the difference.
The Southern baseball team dropped an 11-2 decision to non-conference host Warren on Thursday in Washington County, with the Tornadoes committing all-6 of the game’s errors.
Southern (13-7) fell behind 5-0, as the Warriors (13-7-1) scored once in the opening inning and four times in the second. After making it into scoring position just once in the first four frames, the Purple and Gold ended the shut out in the top of the fifth, as Gage Shuler singled home Logan Drummer.
The Warriors went ahead 9-1 after a four-run bottom of the fifth, and SHS senior Billy Harmon led off the top of the sixth with a home run. WHS, however, plated two runs in the bottom of the inning, and then retired the Tornadoes in order in the seventh to cap off the 11-2 victory.
Will Wickline struck out four batters and took the pitching loss in two innings for the Purple and Gold, allowing five runs, three earned, on three hits and four walks. Ryan Laudermilt finished night on the mound for Southern, giving up six runs, three earned, on four hits and four walks.
Brett Gandee was the winning pitcher of record in three shut out innings for WHS, striking out three batters and allowing two hits. Kurt Taylor tossed the remaining four frames, striking out two batters and walking one, while giving up two earned runs and four hits.
Jensen Anderson led the SHS offense, going 2-for-3. Harmon’s solo homer was Southern’s only extra-base hit, as well as his only hit in three at-bats. Gage Shuler, Cole Steele and Ryan Acree each singled once, with Shuler earning an RBI, while Drummer scored a run.
Brett Gandee helped his own cause, going 2-for-4 with a home run, a double, two runs scored and two runs batted in. Noah Edgell was 2-for-4 with two runs and two RBIs, Hunter Vincent was 2-for-3 with a pair of runs, while Brayden Gerber singled once and drove in two runs. Drew Huffman contributed three runs and two RBIs to the winning cause, Taylor added one run and one RBI, while Seth Dennis scored once.
Warren left nine runners on base, four more than Southern.
After visiting Athens on Friday, the Tornadoes will prepare for the Division IV sectional final at Star Mill Park on Tuesday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.