THE PLAINS, Ohio — The perfect way to prepare for the postseason.
The Southern baseball team ended its regular season in style on Friday in Athens County, defeating Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division champion Athens by a 3-2 count.
Athens (17-6) scored a run apiece in each of the first two innings, but was held off the board for the remainder of the contest. The Tornadoes (14-7) were blanked in the first two frames, but took a 3-2 lead on a two-out Jensen Anderson double in the top of the third.
Gage Shuler pitched five shut out innings in relief and earned the victory on the mound for Southern, striking out two batters, walking one and giving up five hits. Billy Harmon tossed the first two frames for SHS, allowing two earned runs on four hits and a walk, while striking out one.
Rece Lonas took the pitching loss in four innings for AHS, allowing three earned runs on two hits and five walks, while striking out six. Eli Kennedy struck out one batter and gave up three hits in three shut out innings of relief for the Bulldogs.
Shuler led the SHS offense, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Anderson doubled once and drove in three runs, Will Wickline and Ryan Laudermilt added a single apiece, while Harmon and Noah Diddle both scored once.
Jack Cornwell and Finn Mitchell both singled twice to lead the hosts at the plate. Nate Trainer doubled once and drove in one run, Nick Barga singled once and picked up an RBI, while Reece Wallace and Andrew Stephens both singled once and scored once in the setback.
Southern committed two of the game’s three errors and stranded 18 runners on base, twice as many as Athens.
The Tornadoes — the No. 2 seed — will host seventh-seeded Coal Grove in the Division IV sectional final on Tuesday at Star Mill Park.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.