WATERFORD, Ohio — The good news is that the Wahama High School baseball team is still atop the Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division.
The bad news is that the White Falcons are no longer undefeated in the league.
That’s because host Waterford — on Friday evening — handed the White Falcons their first TVC-Hocking setback this season, winning 3-1 to split the season series.
Waterford scored once in the first inning and twice in the third, while Wahama could only muster a single point in the fourth.
The White Falcons outhit the Wildcats 5-4, but only one of Waterford’s runs was earned as the result of an error with two outs in the third.
Wahama also left five runners on base, including two on in the seventh and two runners in scoring position.
The loss, which was Wahama’s second straight, left the White Falcons at 12-4 — and 11-1 in the TVC-Hocking.
The Wildcats raised their record to 12-6, including 11-3 in the division — and right behind Wahama in the league race.
Wahama, entering Monday’s league home game against Eastern, had four league games left, while Waterford only had two.
The White Falcons won the first meeting in walkoff fashion — 5-4 at J.C. Cook Field.
Wahama ace pitcher Philip Hoffman went the distance, only allowing an earned run on four hits with two walks while striking out 10.
As part of the 10 strikeouts, he whiffed the Wildcats for all three outs in the second inning, and retired the side 1-2-3 in the second and fifth.
He faced only four Waterford batters in the first, fourth and sixth stanzas, but gave up three of his four hits with two outs — and the Wildcats made them pay off.
In the first, Riley Burns belted a solo home run for a 1-0 Wildcat lead.
In the third, Isaac Hoffman singled and Devyn Farley reached on an error, allowing Hoffman to score.
Burns then singled in Farley for the 3-0 advantage.
The only other Waterford baserunners after that were Braden Bellville on an error and Bryce Hilverding on a walk in the fourth — and Burns on a walk and Clay Hayes with a single in the sixth.
Speaking of Hayes, he pitched for the complete-game win for the Wildcats, scattering five hits and two walks with nine strikeouts.
He retired Wahama 1-2-3 in the third, fifth and sixth innings, sandwiched around the White Falcons’ only run in the fourth.
Hayes faced four White Falcons in each of the opening two innings, and escaped each and every serious Wahama scoring threat.
In the first, Philip Hoffman walked and Mason Hicks singled for Wahama with two outs, but Hoffman was thrown out at third.
Jared Nutter singled in the second and seventh, but was stranded at second both times.
Nyles Riggs also singled in the seventh, but he too was left stranded.
Hoffman had a double to lead off the fourth, stole second, and scored on Nutter’s sacrifice fly to right.
Tyler Grimm had walked on the previous at-bat, but Hayes stranded him at first.
Wahama will host Belpre in another TVC-Hocking tilt today (Tuesday, April 26).
Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106