TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — The Lady Eagles began the 2016 postseason with a bang.
The Eastern softball team blasted three home runs and three doubles in Thursday’s Division IV sectional final in Meigs County, and the second-seeded Lady Eagles rolled to a 19-1 victory in five innings over seventh-seeded Waterford.
Eastern (18-6) — which has now won 21 sectional titles in program history, including eight consecutive — scored 10 runs in the opening inning, highlighted by three-run home runs by Jess Coleman and Sidney Cook.
Waterford (7-13) — which was retired in order in the first frame — attempted to get a run back in the top of the second, but Odessa Tornes was throw out at the plate on an inning-ending double-play.
After Coleman led off the bottom of the second with a double, Cera Grueser blasted a home run to increase the hosts’ lead to 12-0. Still with no-outs in the second, EHS plated two more runs as Mackenzie Brooks was singled home by Taylynn Rockhold, who then scored on a Hannah Bailey single.
With one-out in the home half of the second, Emmalea Durst singled home Bailey and Courtney Fitzgerald, making Eastern’s lead 16-0.
After retiring the Lady Wildcats in order in the top of the third, EHS scored three more runs in the bottom of the inning, making the Lady Eagles’ advantage 19-0.
Neither team scored in the fourth inning, but Waterford scored its only run of the night in the top of the fifth, making the final score 19-1 in favor of the Lady Eagles.
Coleman was the winning pitcher of record for EHS, tossing four scoreless frames, in which she struck out five batters and allowed three hits. Elaina Hensley pitched the final frame for the Lady Eagles, allowing one run on three hits. Waterford freshman Emma Baldwin was the losing pitcher of record.
The EHS offense was a combined 19-for-29 at the plate, led by Durst, who was 3-for-3 with one run scored and three runs batted in. Cook was 2-for-3 with one home run, one double, two runs scored and four RBI, Coleman was 2-for-3 with one home run, one double, one run scored and three RBI, while Grueser was 2-for-3 with one home run, two runs scored and two RBI.
Bailey was 2-for-2 with three runs scored and one RBI, Fitzgerald was 2-for-2 with two runs scored and one RBI, while Mollie Maxon was 2-for-4 with one double, and one run scored. Rockhold was 1-for-1 with one run scored and two RBI for the Lady Eagles, while Hannah Sharp, Annalisa Boano and Katlyn Barber each singled once and scored once. Brooks scored twice for EHS, Allison Barber scored once, while Morgan Baer had one RBI.
Ceira Burns led the Waterford offense, going 2-for-2 with one double and one run scored. Samantha Armstrong and Melanie Radabaugh were both 1-for-1 for WHS, while Paige McCutcheon and Denise Young were both 1-for-2. Waterford committed the game’s only two errors.
Both EHS and WHS left three runners on base in the contest.
Eastern swept the Lady Wildcats in the regular season, winning 17-0 on April 1, in Tuppers Plains, and 10-1 on April 20, in Waterford.
The Lady Eagles will meet third-seeded Paint Valley in Tuesday’ Division IV district semifinal at Minford High School. The 15-6 Lady Bearcats defeated Manchester by a 16-0 count in five innings, in Thursday night’s sectional final at PVHS.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.