CENTENARY, Ohio — All good things must come to an end.
The Gallia Academy softball team had its three-year reign as outright league champions come to a halt Wednesday night during a 5-4 setback to visiting Jackson in a Southeastern Ohio Athletic League matchup at the Eastman Athletic Complex in Gallia County.
The Blue Angels (12-6, 5-3 SEOAL) were mathematically eliminated from a four-peat Wednesday, as the Ironladies (12-3, 7-1) moved into a tie with Warren atop the league standings. Warren plays at Jackson on Friday, and the winner will secure at least a share of the SEOAL crown. WHS won the first matchup by an 11-7 margin.
On Wednesday night, however, it was mental mistakes that cost the Blue Angels — as the hosts committed five of the six errors in the contest. GAHS claimed a small 8-7 edge in the hit column, but Jackson managed to rally back from an early 2-0 deficit for the victory.
The Blue Angels plated a run apiece in the bottom of the third and fourth frames, which gave the hosts their only leads of the night through four complete.
Jackson responded with three runs in the fifth and two more scores in the sixth, giving the guests a sizable 5-2 lead through five and a half innings. GAHS countered with a run in the sixth and tacked on another in the seventh, but never managed to get closer the rest of the way.
Gallia Academy managed to get the game-tying run to second base with two outs in the seventh, but a pop out by Rachel Morris allowed Jackson to sneak away with the narrow one-run decision. JHS also won the first decision by a 3-2 count to earn the sweep.
Heather Ward took the loss for the hosts after allowing seven hits and three walks over seven innings while striking out six. Kacee Jenkins was the winning pitcher of record after allowing eight hits and one walk over seven frames while fanning two.
Maggie Westfall and Megan Cochran paced GAHS with two hits apiece, followed by Morris, Kendra Barnes, Brittany Lloyd and Chelsy Slone with one safety each. Barnes, Cochran, Lloyd and Westfall each drove in an RBI, while Westfall scored twice in the setback.
Jensen Oberholzer paced the Ironladies with two hits. All five of Gallia Academy’s errors came in the final three innings of play.
The last time Gallia Academy was swept by an SEOAL team in the regular season was 2006, when the Angels struggled to a 7-13 overall mark. The Blue Angels also finished second in the SEOAL in 2007 and 2008 after losing to Marietta and Logan in the Day of Champions games those respective seasons.