RACINE, Ohio — One inning can make, or break, your entire night.
The Southern softball team allowed Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Waterford to score eight runs in the sixth inning alone, as the Lady Wildcats claimed a 10-7 victory, on Tuesday night at Star Mill Park.
Southern (6-6, 6-4 TVC Hocking) — which had won four of its previous five games headed into Tuesday — took a 1-0 lead with one out in the bottom of the second inning, when Katie Barton singled home Lauren Lavender.
Waterford (7-4, 5-2) tied the game and took the lead on consecutive at-bats with two outs in the third inning, as Ohse scored on a double by Offenberger, who then scored on a Smitley single.
The Lady Wildcat lead grew to 10-1 in the top of the sixth inning, as WHS combined seven hits, one walk and one SHS error.
Southern scored twice in the bottom of the sixth, and four more runs in the seventh, but it was too little, too late, as Waterford claimed the 10-7 victory.
Smitley earned the pitching victory for Waterford, allowing six runs, five earned, on 13 hits and one walk, while striking out three batters in six innings of work.
SHS junior Sydney Cleland suffered the pitching loss for Southern, allowing 10 runs, four earned, on 15 hits and one walk. Cleland struck out four batters in a complete game effort.
Katie Barton led the Purple and Gold at the plate, going 3-for-4 with one double and four runs batted in. Lauren Lavender was 2-for-4 with two doubles, three runs scored and one RBI, while Josie Cundiff and Jaiden Roberts both singled twice, with Cundiff scoring once.
SHS senior Sierra Cleland was 1-for-3 with a run scored, Haley Musser and Paige VanMeter were both 1-for-4 with an RBI, while Shelbi Dailey and Sydney Cleland both singled once. Phoenix Cleland and Ciera Whitesell both scored one run for the hosts.
Ohse and Offenberger both doubled once, singled twice and scored twice to lead the WHS offense. Offenberger also drove in a team-best three runs.
Both defenses committed one error in the contest. Southern left a total of seven runners on base, while Waterford stranded five runners.
Southern will look to avenge this setback on May 1, when these teams are scheduled to meet in Washington County.
After hosting Miller on Wednesday, Southern will be back in action on Thursday, when Belpre visits Star Mill Park.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.