RACINE, Ohio — And now it comes down to Waterford.
The Southern softball team pulled even in the league standings Tuesday night following a 2-1 victory over visiting Eastern in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup at Star Mill Park in Meigs County.
The Lady Tornadoes (15-5) moved into a first-place tie with the Lady Eagles (19-2) atop the TVC Hocking leaderboard with matching 14-1 league marks, and both teams still have a makeup date with Waterford before wrapping up the league schedule. WHS was at Eastern on Wednesday night and SHS travels to Waterford Monday evening.
As for Tuesday night, the game itself was a near mirror-image of the first contest — with the exception of the final outcome. Eastern claimed a 2-0 win in a pitcher’s duel at Don Jackson Field on May 1.
Both teams went scoreless through two innings of play, but Southern struck first blood in the bottom of the third after a small rally led to a 2-0 edge. A two-out, bases-loaded double by Baylee Hupp plated both Ali Deem and Caitlyn Holter for the early two-run cushion.
The score remained that way until the top of the sixth when Paige Cline delivered a one-out double and later scored on consecutive SHS errors, allowing the Lady Eagles to cut their deficit in half at 2-1.
Eastern had the bases loaded with one out in the seventh, but Southern starter Jordan Huddleston induced a flyout and a groundout over the next two batters — allowing SHS to salvage a season split with the one-run decision.
Huddleston was the winning pitcher of record after allowing zero earned runs and one walk over seven innings while striking out six. Grace Edwards suffered the setback after surrendering one earned run and two walks over six frames while fanning five.
The Lady Tornadoes outhit EHS by a 6-4 overall margin and committed three errors in the contest, compared to just one miscue by the guests.
Holter led Southern with two hit, followed by Hupp, Hill, Darien Diddle and Cierra Turley with a safety apiece. Hupp drove in both RBIs, while Deem and Holter each scored once in the triumph.
Cline, Erin Swatzel, Hannah Hawley and Jess Coleman had a hit apiece for the Lady Eagles, with Cline scoring the team’s only run.