BELPRE - Eight runs in a two-inning span broke open a close game as TVC Hocking Division baseball leader Southern turned a 2-1 lead into a 10-1 win over host Belpre Friday evening at Civitan Park.
The Tornadoes improved to 9-1 overall and remained unbeaten, now at 6-0, in the TVC Hocking, while the host Golden Eagles dropped to 2-7 overall and 2-5 in TVC Hocking standings. Belpre plays next on Monday at 5 p.m. at Wahama.
Southern forged an early 2-0 lead, scoring twice in the second on Chandler Drummer's RBI single and a passed ball, before Belpre tallied in the third to cut the deficit in half.
Alex Perry walked with two outs, took second on Joe Byers' single to left-center field, advanced to third base on a wild pitch and scored when Hayden Plummer lashed a RBI single to left.
The fourth and fifth frames, though, decided the outcome in the Tornadoes' favor as they plated three runs and then five in back-to-back innings.
In the fourth, Trenton Cook doubled in two runs and Hunter Johnson singled in the other, and in the fifth, the visitors batted around to pile up five more scores on RBI singles by Colton Walters, Drummer and Johnson, a dropped fly ball in the outfield and a sacrifice fly by Cook.
At Civitan Park, Belpre
Southern 10, Belpre 1
Southern 020 350 0 - 10 11 2
Belpre 001 000 0 - 1 8 3
WP: Chandler Drummer (in relief), 3 1/3 IP, 9 SO, 0 BB
Hunter Johnson (starter), 3 2/3 IP, 1 SO, 1 BB
LP: Hayden Plummer (starter), 4 1/3 IP, 0 SO, 3 BB
Ryan Leasure (In relief), 2 2/3 IP, 0 SO, 2 BB
Southern (9-1, 6-0 TVC Hocking) hitting: Johnson 2-3, 2 RBIs; Trenton Deem double; Danny Ramthum double; Colton Walters RBI; Drummer 3-4, 2 RBIs; Trenton Cook double, SF, 3 RBIs
Belpre (2-7, 2-5 TVC Hocking) hitting: Joey Byers 3-4; Plummer RBI; Ryan Epperly 2-4; Kole Counts double
Next game: Belpre at Wahama 5 p.m. Monday
With eight hits, Belpre had only three less than Southern's game total. The Golden Eagles had two hits each in the third, fourth, fifth and seventh innings, but managed just the two tallies.
They left the bases loaded in the fourth as Drummer, who picked up the win with 3 1/3 innings in relief, stifled any Belpre comeback tries with a nine-strikeout, no-walk performance on the mound.
Belpre starter Plummer picked runners off first base twice in the first three innings and defensively, the Golden Eagles committed just three errors.
"Our problem's not been our pitching," said Belpre head coach Terry Mullen. "We struggle fielding the ball sometimes behind our pitchers which translates into too many base-runners. But it's mental errors too. Plus, the biggest thing with our team this year is that a lot of them are young and just haven't played a lot of baseball, so they don't know the game. They just need to play more to learn the game."