BELPRE, Ohio — In inching closer to another Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division softball championship, the Eastern Lady Eagles took a giant jump towards reaching that goal on Friday.
That’s because the Lady Eagles — in efforting for their third consecutive TVC-Hocking title — earned a key 9-1 win over the Belpre Golden Eagles at Civitan Park in Belpre.
Eastern amassed two runs apiece in innings one, four and five — and toted three runs on three hits in the third.
Belpre’s only run was a solo home run by starting pitcher Katie Osburn to lead off the bottom of the fourth.
With the victory, the Lady Eagles raised their record to 16-6 — and still lead the TVC-Hocking at 13-1.
They also completed the season sweep of Belpre, which fell to 17-5 and 11-3 in the league.
Eastern’s only TVC-Hocking tilts left are with Trimble, which trails the Eagles by a game-and-a-half at 11-2.
Trimble traveled to Eastern on Monday, as Eastern returns to Trimble to complete a suspended game next Monday (May 9).
If the Eagles are able to at least split with the Tomcats, then they will at least share the league championship.
On Friday at Belpre, in what Eastern coach Bryan Durst tabbed as a “total team effort”, the Eagles amounted nine runs on 10 hits and four walks off the Golden Eagles’ two pitchers.
Osburn started for Belpre and worked the first four frames, allowing seven runs on five hits and four walks with five strikeouts.
Madison Harman pitched the final three, allowing the final two runs on a two-run home run by Mollie Maxon in the fifth.
The nine runs were more than enough support for Eastern ace Jess Coleman, who locked down Belpre for only five hits and no walks with seven strikeouts and facing 26 batters.
She faced four Belpre batters in the first, second, fourth, fifth and sixth stanzas, saw the minimum three in the third, and retired the side 1-2-3 in the last.
In fact, besides Osburn’s homer, the only other Belpre baserunners were Osburn reaching on an error in the first, Kaitlin Richards singling and stealing second in the second, Lauryn Simmons singling in the third, Richards singling and stealing second in the fifth, and Olivia Shutts singling and stealing second in the sixth.
Coleman helped her cause by giving Eastern all the runs it needed for the win in the opening at-bat.
Hannah Bailey led off with a walk and Emmalea Durst singled with one out, then Coleman conked a two-run single to score both for the 2-0 lead.
In the third, the Eagles combined for a Bailey leadoff walk, Sidney Cook being hit by a pitch, a Durst RBI-single and an RBI sacrifice by Coleman to make it 5-0.
In the fourth, Maxon drew a leadoff walk, as her courtesy runner Kelsey Casto stole second and third — and scored on a bunt single by Courtney Fitzgerald.
Fitzgerald then scored on an RBI-double by Cook for the 7-0 advantage.
In the fifth, Katyln Barber singled to lead off against Harman, setting up Maxon’s home run and the 9-1 final score.
Eastern’s other three hits were all singles — Taylynn Rockhold in the fifth, Bailey in the sixth and Maxon in the seventh.
Rockhold also walked in the second.
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106