HARTFORD, W.Va. — An even keel.
The Wahama softball team handed visiting Meigs its first loss in the opener, then the Lady Marauders returned the favor in a doubleheader night-cap on Saturday following scores of 9-5 and 17-6 in a pair of non-conference contests in Mason County.
The Lady Falcons (3-1) twice had to rally in the opener before using a big five-run fifth to eventually cruise to a four-run win, but the hosts saw their winning streak come to an end in the finale as Meigs (2-1) scored three runs in four of the five frames while leading wire-to-wire in the five-inning outcome.
MHS started things on a good note as Taylor Swartz led the game off with a double and later scored on a pair of passed balls for a quick 1-0 cushion.
Ciera Older scored on a Peyton Rowe single for a 2-0 cushion, then Breanna Zirkle scored on an Alyssa Smith fielder’s choice that gave Meigs its largest lead of the game at 3-0.
Emily VanMatre singled home Hannah Rose in the bottom of the first to cut the deficit down to 3-1, then Emma Gibbs scored on an error and Emily VanMatre came home on an Alexis Mick fielder’s choice in the third — allowing WHS to tie things up at three.
Rowe singled home both Swartz and Older with one away in the fifth, allowing Meigs to reclaim the lead at 5-3.
The Red and White, however, sent nine batters to the plate in their half of the fifth, which yielded five runs on four hits, two fielder’s choices and an error.
Lauren Eades singled home Grace Maddox with two away to close the deficit down to one, then Hannah Rose doubled home both Kailyn Alison and Eades for a permanent lead at 6-5.
Victoria VanMatre and Rose later scored on a single by Gibbs, extending the Wahama lead out to 8-5 through five complete.
Madison VanMatre tacked on an insurance run with a solo blast with one away in the sixth, completing the four-run triumph. Meigs had only one baserunner in its final nine at-bats of the opener.
The Lady Falcons outhit the guests by a 10-6 overall margin and also committed four of the nine errors in the contest. The hosts left seven runners on base, while Meigs stranded five.
Hannah Billups was the winning pitcher of record after allowing two earned runs, six hits and two walks over seven innings of work. Zirkle took the loss for MHS after allowing one earned run, 10 hits and one walk over six frames while fanning four.
Billups, Rose, Emily VanMatre and Madison VanMatre led Wahama with two hits apiece, followed by Gibbs and Eades with a safety each. Rose and Gibbs paced WHS with two RBIs apiece, and Rose also scored twice in the win.
Swartz and Rowe led Meigs with two hits apiece, followed by Rachel Kesterson and Bre Lilly with a safety each. Rowe paced the Lady Marauders with three RBIs, while Swartz and Older both scored twice.
Meigs wasted no time in exacting revenge in the second contest as the hosts led 3-1 after one inning of play before putting together consecutive four-run innings for an 11-1 cushion.
Wahama answered with two runs in the third and three more scores in the fourth to close to within 11-6, but the Maroon and Gold put together a six-run fifth that eventually led to a mercy-rule victory.
Zirkle provided the eventual game-winning RBI in the top of the first as Swartz scored on the third straight single of the game.
Karington Brinker also had a two-run homer with two away in the top half of the fifth, ultimately providing the final two runs of the contest.
The Lady Marauders outhit the hosts by a 15-11 overall margin and committed only one of the five errors in the game. Both teams also stranded six runners apiece on the bags.
Zirkle was the winning pitcher of record after allowing six earned runs and 11 hits over five innings while striking out seven. Rose took the loss for WHS after surrendering 11 earned runs, 15 hits and four walks over five frames while fanning one.
Rowe paced Meigs with three hits, followed by Swartz, Older, Zirkle, Kesterson and Chonslyn Spaun with two safeties apiece. Brinker and Jerrica Smith also had a hit each for the victors.
Shalynn Mitchell scored four runs for the guests and Swartz also crossed home plate three times. Rowe, Spaun, Brinker, Kesterson and both Smiths also drove in two RBIs apiece.
Gibbs paced Wahama with three hits and Rose followed with two safeties. Billups, Ashtyn Russell, Autumn Baker, Emily VanMatre and Madison VanMatre also had a hit apiece.
Gibbs led the hosts with two RBIs and Rose scored two times in the setback.
Wahama hosted Trimble on Monday and travels to Waterford on Tuesday in a pair of TVC Hocking contests.
Meigs hosted Athens on Monday and returns to action Wednesday when it travels to Bidwell for a TVC Ohio contest against River Valley.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.