CHESHIRE, Ohio — Long live the long ball.
The Alexander softball team hit five home runs Wednesday night, as the defending Tri-Valley Conference Ohio Division champion claimed a 13-1 victory in five innings over host River Valley.
The Lady Spartans (5-1, 2-0 TVC Ohio) broke the scoreless tie in the top of the second inning when Nicole Hudnall singled home Hunter Markins with one out. The very next batter, Abby Howard, blasted a three-run home run, pushing the Lady Spartan lead to 4-0.
AHS added one more run in the second inning, and another in the third, expanding the advantage to 6-0. The Lady Raiders (2-4, 0-2) scored for the first time in the top of the third, when Reilly Barcus singled home Sydney Little.
Alexander answered in the top of the fourth, as Kendall Meeks and Hannah Howery hit back-to-back solo home runs. Meeks and Howery hit back-to-back home runs again in the top of the fifth, but this time Meeks had the bases loaded for her blast.
River Valley had just one hit in the final two innings, and AHS claimed the 13-1 mercy rule victory.
Meeks earned the pitching victory for the guests, striking out four, while allowing one unearned run on five hits and one walk.
Ashley Gilmore suffered the loss in the circle for the Silver and Black, allowing eight runs on seven hits and six free passes, in 4.0 innings. Bailey Hollanbaugh pitched the fifth frame for RVHS and allowed five runs on three hits and two free passes. Gilmore and Hollanbaugh both struck out one in the setback.
RVHS senior Courtney Smith led the Lady Raider offense with two singles in three at-bats. Little singled once and scored once in three at-bats, Barcus singled once and drove in one run in two at-bats, while Isabella Mershon went 1-for-2 with a single.
Meeks led the Lady Spartans at the plate with two home runs, one single, three runs scored and five RBI in three at-bats. Hundall was also 3-for-3 in the win, singling three times, scoring twice and driving in two runs. Howery went 2-for-3 with two home runs, two runs scored and two RBI, Howard was 1-for-3 with one home run, two runs scored and three RBI, while Amber Hunt was 1-for-2 with one double and two runs scored.
For the game, Alexander had five runners left on base and one error, while RVHS left four runners stranded and did not commit an error.
These teams are scheduled to clash again on April 22, in Albany.
River Valley was scheduled to host South Gallia on Thursday, but the game was postponed due to weather. RVHS is scheduled to resume league play on Friday, at Meigs.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.