HEMLOCK, Ohio — Thursday night was Cinco de Mayo, so who can blame the Tornadoes for wanting to celebrate.
The Southern baseball team took two victories on Thursday night in Perry County, defeating Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Miller by counts of 11-1 and 6-3 in five innings apiece.
After back-to-back scoreless innings to start the opening game, SHS (11-11, 10-6 TVC Hocking) took a 2-0 lead in the top of the third. Miller (4-12, 4-12) cut its deficit in half in the bottom of the third, but Southern plated three runs in the top of the fourth inning.
The Tornadoes pushed across six runs in the top of the fifth and then struck out three Falcons in the bottom of the frame, to cap off the 11-1 victory.
SHS junior Blake Johnson earned the pitching victory, striking out seven batters, walking five, and surrendering one unearned run on four hits in a complete game effort. Garrett Bartley suffered the loss on the mound for Miller.
Clayton Wood doubled once to lead the Purple and Gold at the plate, while Dylan Smith and Wesley Clark both singled once and scored twice. Trey Pickens and Billy Harmon both singled once and scored once, Logan Dunn and Garrett Wolfe both scored twice, while Johnson crossed home plate once.
Bartley singled once and scored once to lead the Falcons, while Tylor Newman, Colten Brown and Austin Collins both singled once.
In the second game, the Tornadoes — who were the home team on the scoreboard — pushed two runs across in the first inning. Southern’s lead grew to 6-0 with a four-run third frame.
MHS attempted to rally back — scoring once in the fourth and twice in the fifth — but it was too little, too late, and Southern claimed the 6-3 win.
Wood — who struck out one batter in a complete game effort — earned the pitching victory for the Tornadoes, surrendering three runs on five hits and one walk.
Smith led SHS at the plate with two hits and one run scored, while Pickens and Clark both added two singles. Wood singled once and scored once in the win, while Johnson, Harmon and Wolfe each crossed home plate once.
Ryan Morgan and Cole Geil paced the Falcons with one hit and one run scored apiece. Bartley, Brown and Seattle Compston each singled once for the Perry County natives, while Collins scored one run.
Southern — which finished in fifth in the TVC Hocking — will travel to Eastern for a sectional final, on Tuesday. The Eagles and Tornadoes split the regular season series, with each team winning at home.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.