TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — A win is a win, no matter how pretty it is.
The Eastern softball team survived a late rally by Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Belpre, on Tuesday night in Meigs County, as the host Lady Eagles held on for a 6-5 victory.
Belpre (6-2, 6-2 TVC Hocking) began the game with a bang, as Lauryn Simmons hit a lead-off home run in the top of the first inning. However, Eastern (8-1, 7-0) took the lead in the bottom of the first, as EHS sophomore Sidney Cook blasted a two-run home run to right field.
The host Lady Eagles added on to their lead in the bottom of the second inning, first when Emmalea Durst doubled home Allison Barber, and again when Hannah Bailey singled home Durst and Abbie Hawley.
After back-to-back scoreless frames, EHS pushed the lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the fifth, when Cook singled and later scored.
BHS — which had been held scoreless since Simmons’ first-inning blast — got back in the game with two runs on two hits and two walks in the top of the sixth inning. Belpre’s Katie Osburn doubled home two more runs in the top of the seventh, but the Orange and Black couldn’t bring the tying run home, giving Eastern the 6-5 win.
“It’s a big win to stay on top,” second-year EHS head coach Bryan Durst said. “We came out of the gate real sharp and we really hit the ball well, but then we kind of went to sleep a little bit. As our season goes along we need to play a complete game. That’s what it’s going to take to win this league.”
Eastern junior Jess Coleman earned the pitching victory, allowing five runs, three earned, on six hits and four walks. Coleman pitched a complete game and struck out eight batters.
“Jess Coleman never feels any pressure,” Coach Durst said of his junior pitcher. “She just goes out and preforms. She gives our defense a chance to work and I think defensively we’re growing. Defensively, we’re not where we want to be, but it seemed like to me that tonight we had confidence. We acted like we were going to win this game and fortunately we got out of here with one.”
Madison Harman suffered the setback in the circle for Belpre, allowing five runs on eight hits in four innings. Osburn pitched the final two frames and surrendered one run on three hits and three walks. Harman recorded six strikeouts, while Osburn had three.
Cook led the Green and Gold at the plate, with a home run, a single, two runs scored and two stolen bases in three at-bats. Durst went 2-for-3 with a double, a single, one run scored and one RBI, Katlyn Barber was 2-for-3 with two singles and one stolen base, while Bailey was 2-for-4 with two singles, one run scored and two RBI.
Coleman doubled once in two at-bats for EHS, Hawley singled once and scored once in two at-bats, while Mollie Maxon was 1-for-4 with a single. Allison Barber scored once as a courtesy runner for EHS, while Mackenzie Brooks and Taylynn Rockhold each stole one base in the win.
Olivia Shutts led the Orange and Black with two doubles and two runs scored in four at-bats, while Simmons was 1-for-4 with a home run, two runs scored and one RBI. Osburn was 1-for-3 with one double, one run scored, two RBI and one stolen base, Bri Elkins was 1-for-4 with a single, one RBI and one stolen base, while Alex Williams singled once in two at-bats. Elizabeth Adams had one RBI in the loss, while Kaitlin Richards stole one base.
For the game, Eastern had two errors and eight runners left on base, while Belpre had one error and six runners left on base. This is the first time this season that Belpre has allowed more than five runs in a game. This marks Eastern’s 24th consecutive TVC Hocking victory.
The Green and Gold will look to sweep BHS on April 29, when these teams meet in Washington County.
Eastern resumes league play on Thursday, when Miller visits Tuppers Plains.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.