OAK HILL — The Valley High School softball squad defended well early on Thursday, then started to churn out runs late.
The end result, in a Southern Ohio Conference Division II makeup matchup at Oak Hill, was the visiting Indians amassing a 10-3 victory over the Oaks.
With two young teams trying to climb in the SOC II standings, the senior-less Indians improved to 5-6 and 2-6 in the league — while the Oaks slipped to 5-9 and 3-7 in the division.
Valley scored single runs in the opening and final two innings, and amounted four markers in the fourth followed by another three in the fifth.
The Indians actually built up an 8-0 advantage entering the bottom of the sixth —when Oak Hill hit for two runs before one more counter in the seventh.
Valley pitcher Emilie Johnson went the distance in earning the win in the circle, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.
After her Oak Hill counterpart Kailey Adkins smacked a solo home run in the sixth, and after the Oaks added an unearned run off an Indian error to make it 8-2, Johnson struck out three Oaks in a row.
In the seventh, Oak Hill’s Tamron McCain made it 10-3, as she singled and scored followed by an Adkins single.
Johnson also walked Adkins in the opening inning and an Indian error put runners on first and second, but she stranded them there —and managed to escape a bases-loaded one-out situation in the second.
Johnson actually retired nine consecutive Oaks over innings two thru five —before Kyla Simmonds broke up the streak with a single.
However, in inducing McCain to fly out to centerfielder Baylee Yarnell, Yarnell doubled up Simmonds at first to end the inning.
Offensively, Johnson helped her cause by reaching base four times in her five at-bats —singling three times and scoring twice.
The first of her runs scored and basehits came in the Indians’ initial at-bat, when she singled to lead off the game, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on an RBI-single by Lexi Whitt.
In the fourth, Whitt doubled as Valley scored four times and sent all nine batters to the plate —combining singles and runs scored by Yarnell and Karsyn Davis, two Oak Hill errors, and an Olivia Hilton sacrifice with Whitt’s double.
Addalyn Conaway tied Johnson with three hits, as Taylor Cunningham, Callie Lansing and Hilton had singles while Madison Montgomery doubled in the sixth.
Lansing and Hilton had two runs scored, as Conaway in the sixth and Whitt in the seventh also scored runs.
Adkins, in also pitching a complete game for Oak Hill, struck out six.
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