Ironton pins 1st OVC loss on GA

By Paul Boggs -

IRONTON, Ohio — All good things must come to an end.

Unfortunately for the Gallia Academy High School softball squad, that good thing was its six-game winning streak.

That’s because the host Ironton Fighting Tigers, in scoring in every inning except the opening, pinned the first conference loss upon the Blue Angels — as Ironton earned a 9-5 Ohio Valley Conference victory on Monday.

The Fighting Tigers outhit Gallia Academy 12-9, and raced out to a 4-0 lead before Gallia Academy accounted for its late surge —but could never gain the lead.

The Blue Angels trailed 4-2 and 5-4 entering the bottom of the fifth, but Ironton’s M’Kenzie McMaster mashed a two-run home run off GAHS pitcher Bailey Meadows to stem the tide and make it 7-4.

Gallia Academy got within 7-5 after a single tally in the sixth, but Ironton added two more runs — thanks to a two-run single by Ruth Paholsky.

While the Fighting Tigers tallied single counters in the third and fourth frames, followed by a pair of two-spots in their final two at-bats, the momentum-builder was the three-run second stanza.

All Gallia Academy amounted was a pair of two-run frames in the fourth and fifth.

Speaking of momentum, the Blue Angels’ initial OVC loss left them at 5-1 — part of 7-3 overall.

It was the Blue and White’s first defeat since March 30, as they won six consecutive contests after opening at 1-2.

Both clubs committed three errors apiece, as Ironton improved its record to 6-3.

Meadows relieved regular GAHS pitcher Hunter Copley after the second inning, as Copley was charged with the loss.

She allowed only one earned run, but gave up three hits and one walk with only one strikeout.

Meadows worked the final four for the Blue Angels — and allowed six runs on nine hits with two walks and one ‘K’.

Mary Beth Burton, the starter for the Fighting Tigers, gained the win while tossing the first five.

Only two of Gallia Academy’s runs were earned, as she walked three and whiffed three.

Burton helped her cause by going 2-for-3 with two doubles, as McMaster mustered a 3-for-3 day with a double in addition to her homer.

The Blue Angels got their first two runs on three hits, as Meadows doubled in Carly Shriver and Allie Young.

But they went down in order in the third and seventh stanzas, and stranded six runners altogether — and all in scoring position including at second and third in the second and sixth.

Young, Shriver and Jenna Meadows managed two hits apiece, including a double by Meadows, as Alex Barnes singled in the fourth before plating Meadows to make it 5-4.

Allie Jo Clagg had singled and scored in the fifth, while Ryleigh Caldwell drove in Young for the Blue Angels’ run in the sixth.

The Blue Devils will welcome Ironton on Thursday for the return match, but first travel to South Point for that rematch today (Wednesday, April 19).

Paul Boggs can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2106

By Paul Boggs