BELPRE, Ohio — Charming … indeed.
The Wahama baseball team clinched at least a share of its third consecutive Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division championship following a doubleheader sweep of host Belpre on Saturday after posting wins of 10-0 and 14-2 in a pair of six-inning mercy-rule decisions in Washington County.
The White Falcons (15-6, 13-2 TVC Hocking) led wire-to-wire in both contests, which included a one-hit shutout in the opener — a game in which WHS served as the home team on the scoreboard.
The Red and White pounded out 14 hits in Game 1 and took a permanent lead in the second inning after Colton Arrington delivered a two-out single, then stole second and advanced to third on a single by Dalton Kearns.
Kearns got himself caught in an intentional rundown between first and second as Arrington scored, giving Wahama an early 1-0 cushion. The White Falcons tacked on two more scores in the third, then plated four in the fifth before closing things out with three in the sixth for the 10-run triumph.
Wahama left four runners on base in the opener, while the Golden Eagles (5-16, 5-10) stranded two on the bags. Neither team committed an error in the game.
Philip Hoffman was the winning pitcher of record after allowing one hit and one walk over six innings while striking out 14. Bailey Sprague took the loss after surrendering 10 earned runs, 14 hits and one walk over 5.1 frames.
Hoffman led Wahama with four hits and five RBIs, followed by Jared Nutter with three hits. Jared Oliver and Dalton Kearns were next with two hits apiece.
Arrington, Tyler Grimm and Tyler Bumgarner added a hit apiece to the winning cause. Oliver and Nutter each scored three times in the opener.
Cole Knotts had the lone hit for Belpre, which came on a double to lead off the fourth inning.
Both teams played through a scoreless first in the night cap, but WHS plated two runs apiece in the second and third frames for an early 4-0 edge midway through the third. Belpre answered with two scores in the home half of the third to cut the lead in half, but ultimately never came closer.
The White Falcons countered by sending 13 batters to the plate in the top of the fourth, which resulted in seven runs on two hits and eight walks — giving the Red and White an 11-2 edge. WHS closed things out with three runs in the sixth for a 14-2 edge, then struck out three of five batters in the bottom of the sixth to wrap up the 12-run victory.
Wahama outhit the Golden Eagles by a 10-3 overall margin and both teams committed two errors apiece in the contest. WHS stranded 10 runners on base, while the hosts left eight on the bags.
Mason Hicks was the winning pitcher of record after allowing two earned runs, two hits and four walks over five innings while striking out six. Jerimiah Stitt took the loss after surrendering 10 runs (nine earned), six hits and six walks over 3.2 frames while fanning one.
Hoffman led WHS with four hits and Tyler Grimm added two safeties, while Oliver, Nutter, Hicks and Arrington also had a hit apiece in the triumph.
Grimm drove in a team-high three RBIs, while Oliver and Hicks each knocked in two runs. Oliver, Hoffman, Arrington, Grimm, Dalton Kearns and David Hendrick scored two runs apiece for the guests.
Stitt, Tavian Miller and Andrew Klingler had a hit apiece for Belpre, with Stitt and Knotts scoring a run each.
Wahama — which won the 2014 TVC Hocking title outright before sharing the 2015 crown with Trimble — ended a four-game losing skid with the sweep.
Trimble, Eastern and Waterford each have three league losses to date, leaving them as the only programs that can catch Wahama for the league title. Wahama can win the 2016 crown outright with a win at Trimble Thursday. A White Falcons’ loss opens the door for any of those three programs to share the championship — as long as any of those teams win out.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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