BELPRE - Cold, windy weather didn't hamper Belpre's Tyler Watkins on the mound Friday as the senior righthander struck out 13 and walked just three in the Golden Eagles' 4-1 Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division baseball win over visiting Federal Hocking at Civitan Park.
The victory boosted Belpre's overall record to 2-0 while the loss dropped the Lancers to 0-3 on the season. Along with Watkins, Wes Hatfield had two hits, including singling in Belpre's final run in the fourth inning, and Ethan Lockhart delivered a sacrifice fly in the third.
Federal, though, scored first in the Lancers' initial at-bat on Zac Smith's one-out, bases-loaded infield single.
But Belpre put up two tallies in the bottom of the first on only one hit, but three Federal errors, two of which directly scored the runs. An alert Erik Waderker raced home from third when a wide throw back to the mound glanced off the pitcher's glove toward shortstop, then later a dropped throw at first from the second baseman enabled run No. 2 to score from third.
In the meantime, Watkins found his groove early on, finishing with two strikeouts in every inning but one.
Federal's only other real scoring threat came in the sixth, but a strike-out, throw 'em out double play by Watkins with a K and catcher Lockhart gunning down an attempted steal of second quashed that.
At Civitan Park, Belpre
Belpre 4, Federal Hocking 1
Federal (0-3) 100 000 0 - 1 6 4
Belpre (2-0) 201 100 x - 4 7 1
WP: Tyler Watkins (1-0), 7 IP, 13 SO, 3 BB
LP: Chad Hatfield, 4 IP, 0 SO, 2 BB
Josh Coen (in relief), 2 IP, 1 SO, 0 BB
Federal hitting: Brad Church double; Zac Smith RBI
Belpre hitting: Wes Hatfield 2-3, RBI; Clay Ullman double; Ethan Lockhart SF, RBI; Rashawn Miller double
Next games: Waterford at Federal Hocking 5 p.m. Monday, Belpre at Williamstown 4:30 p.m. Monday
Belpre has now chalked up two pitching-dominated wins as Drew Nestor struck out 11 in besting Meigs on Tuesday.
"I just consistently tried to keep my pitches low, low, low and get ground balls," said Watkins. "I got a few strikeouts I probably shouldn't have and a few that he (the umpire) did call. I'm happy; I think I pitched all right for the first time out. On a cold day, I was pleased. Hopefully, when it warms up, my pitches are a little bit harder."
Belpre head coach Terry Mullen said Watkins throws strikes, works ahead and keeps hitters off balance as he has a fastball, knuckleball, curveball and change-up.
Federal head coach Rocky Brunty thought his team played OK, but there's room for improvement, especially with the bats.
"We don't put the ball in play enough and strike out way too many times - 10 times at Southern, 10 versus Eastern and 13 today against Tyler (Watkins). And if you're not putting the ball in play, you can't really get a whole lot done," Brunty said.