Waterford baseball tops Southern
WATERFORD – Waterford scored four times in the first inning and three more in the second as the Wildcats rolled to an 8-3 victory over the visiting Southern Tornados in Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division baseball action Tuesday night at Waterford Elementary School.
The early offense would provide more than enough support for Waterford starting pitcher Alex Branham, who allowed just five hits and a pair of earned runs as he went the distance to earn the win.
‘We have been able to jump out to an early lead several times this year, and we did so again tonight,” said first-year Wildcat head coach Doug Huffman. “We weren’t able to add on as much as we would have liked and maybe let their pitcher get into a little bit of a groove, but it was enough to win.”
Waterford went right to work in the first inning against Southern starting pitcher Clayton Wood after Branham retired the Tornados in order as Isaac Huffman and Bryce Hilverding led off with singles.
Huffman came in to score on an errant throw by Southern for the first run of the game and after the next two Waterford hitters were retired, center fielder Braden Bellville came up with a clutch two-out single to make it 3-0.
Noah Huffman capped the four-run first with a run-scoring single of his own.
Southern cut the lead in half in its half of the second with the big hit being a double by Billy Harmon, but Waterford got those two runs back and one to spare when it sent eight hitters to the plate in the bottom of the second.
Riley Burns, Clay Hayes and Cameron Bosner each collected RBIs in the three-run second that gave Branham a little breathing room on the mound.
The junior right hander allowed another run in the bottom of the third but settled down to blank Southern on just one hit over his final four innings of work.
“Alex seemed to get stronger as the game went along,” said Huffman of Branham, who walked three and fanned four in the game.
“He doesn’t throw overly hard but when he is able to keep the ball down like he did today he can be very effective.”
Burns’ single in the last of the sixth produced the final run of the game for Waterford, which collected 11 base hits and committed just one error in the contest.
Bellville led the Wildcat offense with three base hits while Isaac Huffman and Hayes collected a pair of hits.
Waterford improved to 7-3 with the win.
Southern returned the favor on the girls diamond as the Tornados also scored four times in the opening inning and never looked back as they scored a five-inning, 14-3 win over the ‘Cats.
The Tornados pounded out 17 base hits and took advantage of seven Waterford errors as they improved to 4-5 on the season.
After spotting Southern the four-run lead, Waterford rallied to score a run in the bottom of the first on a double by Jordan Taylor and an RBI-groundout by Madison Ohse, but Southern put up seven runs in the third to take complete control of the game.
Starting pitcher Sydney Cleland scattered six hits to gain the complete game victory for Southern while Emma Baldwin was saddled with the loss for Waterford.
Paige VanMeter went a perfect 3 for 3 while driving in five runs for Southern, while Hannah Hill collected three hits and drove in three runs.
Taylor collected a pair of base hits for the Wildcats, while Baldwin, McCutcheon, Denise Young and Katie Wagner each singled.
Both the boys and girls teams will remain home Thursday when Trimble visits.