TUPPERS PLAINS, Ohio — For the eighth time in as many seasons, the Eastern baseball team is headed to the district tournament following a 14-4 triumph over visiting Waterford in a Division IV sectional final matchup in Meigs County.
The third-seeded Eagles (15-8) fell behind 2-0 after two innings of play, but the hosts answered the bell in the bottom of the third by scoring four times for a 4-2 advantage. The sixth-seeded Wildcats (3-18) retaliated with two runs in the top of the fourth to pull even after four complete, but that was as close as the guests would get.
EHS sent 10 batters to the plate in the fifth, which resulted in five runs on two hits, four walks and one error — giving the Eagles a 9-4 cushion after five complete. Eastern sent another eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of the sixth, which resulted in another five runs that led to a mercy-rule decision.
Leading 12-4 with two outs and two on in the bottom of the sixth, Nick Brannon delivered a two-RBI single that plated Jacob Parker and Tim Elam to wrap up the triumph.
The Eagles advance to the district semifinals Sunday at Chillicothe Paint Stadium, where they will face second-seeded Portsmouth Notre Dame at 2 p.m. The Titans defeated Portsmouth Clay by a 16-2 count Wednesday in a sectional final.
Eastern outhit the guests by an 8-6 overall margin and also committed three of the five errors in the contest, but the hosts also benefited from seven free passes in the contest — compared to only two walks for Waterford hitters.
Josh Shook was the winning pitcher of record, allowing four runs, five hits and two walks over five frames while striking out five. Tyler Schaad took the loss for WHS after surrendering six runs, three hits and three walks over four-plus innings while striking out three.
Joey Scowden paced EHS with two hits, followed by Shook, Parker, Brannon, Chris Amsbary, Ethan Nottingham and Marshall Aanestad with one safety each. Amsbary scored a team-high three runs, while Brannon and Nottingham drove in two RBIs apiece.
Moore, Ginther, Paxton, Kelley, Patterson and Schaad each had a hit for the Wildcats.