MASON, W.Va. — Still in the hunt after battling the birds.
After posting an 8-5 victory over the Belpre Golden Eagles just 24 hours earlier, the Southern baseball team continued shooting down feathered mascots on Thursday night following a 7-4 decision over host Wahama in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division contest at Claflin Stadium in Mason County.
The Tornadoes (13-4, 13-2 TVC Hocking) kept themselves in the league title chase with the wire-to-wire triumph, as the Purple and Gold remained one game behind the Eastern Eagles — who they host Friday at Star Mill Park.
EHS (14-1 TVC Hocking) claimed a 12-2 win over Federal Hocking on Thursday night to secure a share of the 2018 TVC Hocking title.
SHS built a 4-0 cushion midway through the second frame, but the White Falcons (12-10, 8-7) cut that lead in half after scoring twice in the bottom of the second for a 4-2 contest.
Southern answered with a run apiece in the fourth and fifth frames for a 6-2 advantage, but the Red and White retaliated with two scores in the home half of the fifth — trimming the deficit down to 6-4 through five complete.
The guests, however, never allowed another WHS baserunner past first the rest of the way, plus tacked on an insurance run in the seventh to wrap up the three-run outcome.
The Tornadoes claimed a season sweep of the Red and White after posting a 3-1 decision at Star Mill Park on April 28. Southern has also won 11 consecutive TVC Hocking contests after starting the league schedule with a 2-2 mark.
SHS started the scoring in the top of the first as Gage Shuler walked and Logan Drummer singled, then Dylan Smith lifted a sacrifice fly to center that plated Shuler — giving the guests a permanent lead of 1-0 with one away.
Jensen Anderson followed with a single that plated Drummer, then Ryan Acree provided a two-out single that allowed Anderson to come home for a three-run edge three outs into regulation.
The Tornadoes followed with a run in the second as Coltin Parker started the inning by reaching safely on a two-base error, then advanced to third on a passed ball. Parker eventually scored on a two-out error that allowed Smith to reach base, making it a 4-0 contest midway through the second.
The White Falcons finally broke through in the bottom of the second as Trevor Hunt and Bryton Grate both reached base after being hit by a pitch and a walk with two away. Dalton Kearns followed with a double that allowed both Hunt and Grate to come home, cutting the deficit down to 4-2 through two complete.
Drummer added to the Southern lead in the fourth with a two-out single that plated Logan Dunn for a 5-2 contest, then a pair of consecutive errors allowed Billy Harmon to come home in the fifth for a 6-2 advantage.
The White Falcons, however, made one final charge in the home half of the fifth as Tanner Smith singled home Kearns with one away for a 6-3 contest. Smith later came home on a two-out single by Colton Arrington while cutting the deficit down to 6-4 through five full frames.
The guests tacked on an insurance run in the seventh as Anderson singled with one away, then stole second and ended up scoring on an error after successfully stealing third as well.
Both teams produced seven hits apiece, but the White Falcons committed six of the eight errors in the contest. WHS stranded eight runners on base, while SHS left six on the bags.
Anderson was the winning pitcher of record after allowing two earned runs, four hits and two walks over four innings while striking out two. Kearns took the loss after surrendering four earned runs, seven hits and one walk over seven frames while fanning seven.
Drummer and Anderson led the guests with two hits apiece, followed by Harmon, Acree and Parker with a safety each. Anderson also scored twice for the victors.
Kearns and Smith paced the White Falcons with two hits apiece, with Arrington, David Hendrick and Anthony Ortiz also providing a safety each. Kearns also drove in a game-high two RBIs in the setback.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.