WATERFORD, Ohio — Thorough, from start to finish.
The Southern softball team pounded out 18 hits and led wire-to-wire through five innings Tuesday night during a 14-3 mercy-rule victory over host Waterford in a Tri-Valley Conference Hocking Division matchup in Washington County.
The Lady Tornadoes (4-5, 4-3 TVC Hocking) had seven different players produce multi-hit performances while also collectively coming up with at least one safety in each of their five plate appearances.
Southern sent eight batters to the plate in the top of the first, which resulted in four hits and a walk while establishing an early 4-0 advantage.
The Lady Wildcats (3-5, 2-5) countered with a run in their half of the first, but the hosts were ultimately never closer than their three-run deficit after an inning of play.
SHS sent 11 batters to the plate in the top of the third, which yielded seven runs on six hits, an error and a walk — giving the Purple and Gold a commanding 11-1 lead midway through three.
WHS answered with a run in the fourth to close to within nine, but the Lady Tornadoes sent eight more batters to the plate in the top half of the fifth. The guests plated three runs on five hits to secure a 14-2 edge headed into the finale.
A two-out single and three consecutive errors allowed Waterford to score a run for a 14-3 contest, but SHS closed the door on things in the next at-bat with a unassisted out at first base.
Southern outhit the hosts by a sizable 18-5 overall margin and committed four of the six errors in the contest. Both programs also left six runners stranded on the bags.
Sydney Cleland was the winning pitcher of record after allowing three runs (two earned), five hits and one walk over five innings of work. Emma Baldwin suffered the setback after surrendering 14 runs, 18 hits and two walks over seven frames while fanning two.
Hannah Hill, Paige VanMeter and Sabra Bailey led the guests with three hits apiece, followed by Haley Hill, Lauren Lavender, Ali Deem and Savannah Bailey with two safeties each. Katie Barton also added a hit for the victors.
VanMeter drove in a team-best five RBIs, while Hannah Hill knocked in three runs and Savannah Bailey drove in two RBIs. Lavender and Sabra Bailey also drove in a run apiece.
Deem and Hannah Hill each scored three runs, while Lavender and VanMeter both crossed home plate twice. Barton, Haley Hill, Brandy Porter and Sabra Bailey also added a run each to the winning cause.
Jordan Taylor led Waterford with two hits, while Baldwin, Paige McCutcheon and Katie Wagner also had a hit apiece. Wagner and Madison Ohse each drove in one RBI, while Taylor, Baldwin and McCutcheon all scored a run in the setback.
Bryan Walters can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2101.