TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — Another championship for an already packed trophy case.
The Eastern baseball team earned the program’s 22nd sectional title — its fifth straight and 14th in the last 15 seasons — on Tuesday at its home field, as the top-seeded Eagles defeated ninth-seeded Miller by a 9-1 final.
Eastern (20-3) — which claimed victories of 13-3 and 10-0 over the Falcons (6-15) in the regular season — broke the scoreless tie on Tuesday in the bottom of the first inning, as Blake Newland crossed the plate on a wild pitch. Next, Matthew Blanchard scored on an error, then Colton Reynolds tripled home Conner Ridenour and proceeded to score on a single from Ryan Harbour.
Miller got a run back in the top of the third inning, but consecutive RBI sac-flies from Reynolds and Harbour gave the hosts a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the frame.
A two-run single by Nate Durst in the fourth and an RBI double from Blanchard in the sixth capped off the Eagles’ 9-1 triumph.
Blanchard was the winning pitcher in a complete game on the hill for the hosts, striking out seven and allowing one earned run on four hits and six walks. Bartley took the loss on the mound for Miller.
Leading the Eagles at the plate, Durst was 2-for-4 with a run scored and two runs batted in. Reynolds doubled once, scored once and drove in two runs for the victors, while Newland and Ridenour both doubled once and scored twice.
Blanchard and Bruce Hawley both doubled once and scored once in the win, with Blanchard also picking up an RBI. Harbour contributed a single and two RBIs to the winning cause, while Isaiah Fish chipped in with a run.
Cox led the MHS offense, going 2-for-3 with a double and a run scored. Dutiel and Vollmer both had one hit in the contest, with Dutiel earning an RBI.
Neither team committed an error and Miller left nine runners on base, five more than EHS.
The Eagles — with back-to-back 20-win seasons for the first time in program history — head into the district tournament with three consecutive victories, as they finished off a 15-1 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division championship season with a 7-6 victory over Waterford on Friday. Eastern will meet fourth-seeded Huntington at 5 p.m. on Monday at VA Memorial Stadium in Chillicothe.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.