TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — You simply couldn’t ask for a better way to start the season.
The Eastern baseball team started the its 2017 campaign on the right foot in Meigs County on Monday night, as the host Eagles claimed a 10-0 mercy rule victory over Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division guest Belpre.
Eastern (1-0, 1-0 TVC Hocking) — which held Belpre (0-3, 0-2) to just three hits in the contest — scored the game’s opening run in the bottom of the first inning, as senior John Little singled, advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third base and then scored on a throwing error.
With one out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning, freshman Colton Reynolds singled home both Nate Durst and Ethen Richmond. Back-to-back walks brought Kaleb Honaker home and made the EHS lead 4-0.
Still with one out and the bases loaded in the second, Austin Coleman singled home Reynolds and Little, pushing the EHS lead to 6-0. With two outs in the second, Durst — who led off the frame — singled home both Coleman and Owen Arix, making the EHS lead 8-0.
Eastern was held scoreless in the third inning, but with one-out in the bottom of the fourth frame, Coleman scored on a double steal. In the same at-bat, Durst doubled home Kaleb Hill to put the hosts up 10-0.
The Golden Eagles went away in order in the top of the fifth and Eastern claimed the 10-0 mercy rule win.
“We’ve been practicing for a long time, practicing hard, working on all the fundamentals and they’ve done everything we’ve asked them to do,” said first-year Eastern assistant coach Rocky Brunty, who previously coached 24 years at Federal Hocking. “They’re focused, their attitudes are great, they hustle, they play hard and if they stay aggressive, we’ll be fine.”
Richmond was the winning pitcher of record, as the EHS junior allowed just three hits and two walks in four shut out innings. Richmond struck out seven batters before Hill — who struck out one batter in a perfect inning — took over in relief.
Collins suffered the loss for BHS, allowing eight runs, seven earned, on four hits and four walks in 1.2 innings. Brand pitched the final 2.1 frames for Belpre, and he allowed two earned runs on four hits and one walk. Collins tossed two strikeouts, while Brand fanned one batter.
Durst and Little both went 2-for-2 from the plate to lead the EHS offense, while Coleman was 2-for-3. Durst doubled once, scored once and drove in three runs, Little scored twice, while Coleman scored twice and drove in two runs.
Reynolds, Hill and Richmond each singled once and scored once, with Reynolds driving in two runs. Arix marked on RBI and one run scored in the win, while Honaker crossed home plate once.
Collins was 1-for-2 with a double to lead the guests, while Tullius and Sprague were both 1-for-2 with a single.
Belpre committed the game’s lone error, which led to the first run of the contest.
EHS is scheduled to visit South Gallia on Tuesday, and will return home for a non-conference clash with Wellston, on Thursday.
Eastern will try to sweep the Orange and Black on April 11, when Belpre hosts the Eagles.
Alex Hawley can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2100.