RACINE, Ohio — An instant classic, just not exactly instant.
The Southern and Belpre softball team battled through 11 innings on Tuesday in Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division play at Star Mill Park, with the Purple and Gold pulling out a 11-10 victory in dramatic fashion.
Southern (3-2, 3-1 TVC Hocking) broke the scoreless tie in a big way in the second inning, as Shelbi Dailey hit a two-run home run with no outs. With one out in the frame, Ciera Whitesell singled home Kassie Barton, giving SHS a 3-0 lead.
The SHS lead grew to 5-0 in the bottom of the fourth, as Dailey scored on an error and Kaitlyn DeLaCruz scored on a Jaiden Roberts groundout.
The Lady Golden Eagles rallied with two outs in the top of the fifth, scoring four runs on three hits and two errors. Belpre took a 6-5 lead one inning later, as Osburn singled home Simmons and Hutchinson.
Southern tied the game with Kassie Barton scoring on a two-out Sydney Cleland single in the bottom of the sixth, but the Lady Tornadoes had a runner thrown out at the plate on the same play, leaving the score tied at six.
After Belpre left a runner in scoring position in the top of the seventh, Southern had a runner thrown out at third and left one on second in the bottom of the frame.
Neither team reached scoring position in the eighth, ninth, or 10th frames, but the guests snapped their cold spell in the top of the 11th. Three hits, two walks and a pivotal two-out dropped third strike allowed four Lady Eagles to score and gave Belpre a 10-6 lead.
Southern began the bottom of the 11th with Whitesell reaching on a dropped third strike, and Roberts reaching on an error. Following a Josie Cundiff single that loaded the bases, Cleland hit a two-run single, making the BHS lead 10-8.
The Lady Tornadoes loaded the bases again on a single by Paige VanMeter, and then Lauren Lavender doubled home Cundiff and Kayla Boyer, tying the game at 10. Dailey singled home Jordan Hardwick in the very next at-bat, giving the Purple and Gold an 11-10 walk-off victory.
Cleland earned the pitching victory in a complete game for the Lady Tornadoes, striking out 10 and allowing 10 runs, three earned on 17 hits and a two walks.
McDaniel suffered the loss in four innings of relief for the guests, allowing five runs, three earned on six hits and a walk, while striking out three batters.
Lavender led the Lady Tornado offense, going 3-for-6 with two doubles, two runs scored and three runs batted in. Dailey was 2-for-6 with a home run, two runs scored and three RBIs, while Cleland was 2-for-6 with a three RBIs.
Barton was 2-for-5 with two runs scored and one RBI, Whitesell was 2-for-5 with one run scored and one RBI, while VanMeter was 2-for-5 in the win.
DeLaCruz doubled once and scored once, while Cundiff and Roberts both singled once and scored once, with Roberts earning an RBI. Hardwick and Boyer each scored once for the Purple and Gold.
Osburn led the guests by going 4-for-6 with a run scored an two RBIs.
Southern had four errors and left eight runners on base, while Belpre committed six errors and left 13 runners on base.
The Lady Tornadoes and Lady Eagles will meet again on May 2 in Belpre.
After hosting Waterford on Wednesday, Southern will be back on the field at Vinton County on Friday.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.