TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — It’s been a while … and now the Eagles are feeling greedy.
The Eastern baseball team secured a share of its first league title in eight years on Thursday night following a 12-2 victory over visiting Federal Hocking in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest in Meigs County.
The Eagles (21-2, 14-1 TVC Hocking) led wire-to-wire as the hosts built leads of 1-0 and 3-0 through the first two frames, then sent nine batters to the plate in the home half of the third. That outburst accounted for four runs on three hits, two walks and a hit batter, which gave the Green and White a 7-0 advantage through three complete.
The Lancers plated two runs in the top of the fourth to close back to within five, but EHS answered with two runs in the fourth to increase the lead back out to 9-2 headed into the fifth.
With the bases loaded and two away in the bottom of the fifth, Wyatt Watson singled home both Connor Ridenour and Colton Reynolds to increase the lead out nine. Christian Mattox followed with a single down the third base line, which plated Isaiah Fish with the game-clinching run.
The five-inning mercy-rule triumph over Fed Hock was the second for Eastern this spring, as the Green and White also posted a 14-2 decision in Stewart back on April 2.
The Eagles — who last won the TVC Hocking title in 2010 — secured a share of the program’s 11th overall crown. EHS can also capture the championship outright on Friday with a win at Southern. The Tornadoes (13-2 TVC Hocking) — who defeated Wahama 7-4 on Thursday night — are the only team that can still catch Eastern in the standings.
Nate Durst came home with the eventual game-winning run in the bottom of the first following a sacrifice fly to center by Kaleb Hill, making it a 1-0 contest. Austin Coleman delivered a two-out single in the second that plated both Preston Thorla and Mattox for a 3-0 edge.
Owen Arix singled home Reynolds for a 4-0 lead in the third, then then Ryan Harbour scored as Durst was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded — making it a five-run game.
Coleman singled home Arix and Mattox scored on an error while increasing Eastern’s cushion out to 7-0 through three complete.
A leadoff walk and an error put Tate and Reed at first and second to start the top half of the fourth, but EHS answered with consecutive outs after Lopez grounded into a fielder’s choice for the second out of the frame. Tate, however, scored on the fielder’s choice, then Reed came around on a Dearth single that led to a 7-2 contest.
Mattox drove a two-out double to left field as both Reynolds and Fish came in to score, allowing the hosts to extend their lead back out to 9-2.
Eastern outhit the guests by a sizable 14-3 overall margin and also committed the only error of the evening. The Green and White stranded 11 runners on base, while the Lancers left seven on the bags.
Mattox was the winning pitcher of record after allowing zero runs and one hit over two innings while striking out one. Jarvis took the loss after surrendering seven runs, seven hits and five walks over three frames of work.
Coleman led EHS with three hits, followed by Mattox and Reynolds with two safeties apiece. Hill, Ridenour, Harbour, Fish, Arix, Watson and Ethen Richmond also had a hit each in the triumph.
Coleman and Mattox each knocked in three RBIs, while Watson also drove in two RBIs. Reynolds paced the hosts with three runs scored, with Mattox and Fish both touching home plate twice apiece.
Reed had two of Federal Hocking’s three hits, with Dearth providing the other safety. Lopez and Dearth also had an RBI each.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.
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