TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — It only takes one inning to make, or break, your entire night.
The Southern baseball team scored five runs in the second inning and held on for a 6-3 victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division host Eastern, on Wednesday night in Meigs County.
The Eagles (12-4, 11-3 TVC Hocking) — who had won seven straight decisions —manufactured the game’s opening run in the bottom of the first inning, when Austin Coleman was hit by a pitch and later scored.
Southern (11-4, 10-3) — which has now won three in a row — tied the game with one out in the top of the second, when Haden Miller singled home Trey Pickens. The Tornadoes grabbed the 2-1 lead on a two-out bases loaded walk, and the guests went up 5-1 on a three-run Logan Drummer double.
Eastern got two runs back in the home half of the third inning, when Josh Brewer singled home Colton Reynolds, and John Little scored on a bases loaded walk.
Southern added an insurance run in the top of the fourth frame, when Drummer singled home Garrett Wolfe.
An Ethen Richmond double, followed by an Owen Arix single in the sixth inning gave the Eagles their best chance to score over the final four innings, but Southern escaped unscathed and claimed the 6-3 win.
SHS senior Blake Johnson was the winning pitcher of record, striking out four batters in six innings of work, while allowing three runs, three hits and five free passes. Dylan Smith pitched the final frame and earned the save for the Tornadoes, striking out one and allowing one hit.
EHS junior Kaleb Hill suffered the pitching loss, striking out five and allowing five runs, on four hits and two walks, in 1.2 innings. Coleman finished the game on the mound for Eastern, picking up a game-best six strikeouts, while allowing just one unearned run, on two hits and five walks.
Drummer led the SHS offense, going 2-for-4, with a double and four runs batted in. Miller, Pickens, Billy Harmon and Clayton Wood each singled once and scored once, with Miller adding an RBI for the guests. Wolfe and Jensen Anderson scored one run apiece in the win.
Richmond was 1-for-2 with a double to lead the Eagles at the plate, while Little singled once and scored once. Brewer and Arix both singled once in the setback, with Brewer earning an RBI. Nate Durst also picked up an RBI for Eastern, while Reynolds and Coleman both scored once.
Eastern committed two errors, one more than the Tornadoes. SHS left eight runners on base, while the Eagles stranded just three.
The Tornadoes also defeated Eastern on April 8, by a 3-2 final at Star Mill Park.
After visiting Belpre on Thursday, Eastern returns to action on Friday, at Waterford. Southern returns to the field in Racine on Friday, when the Purple and Gold host Trimble.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.