WHEELERSBURG — Another Southern Ohio Conference Division II softball season is just about complete, and it’s another SOC II campaign in which Wheelersburg has ran away — and even hid — with the division championship.
Or, at least as of Wednesday, it’s a share of that crown.
That’s because the Pirates, posting a 10-0 shutout on Wednesday over visiting Valley, officially clinched no worse than a championship split —as that makes it seven straight seasons (2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2021 and 2022) in which Wheelersburg has captured an SOC II title.
Against the Indians, the Pirates put up two first-inning runs, then following four batters in the scoreless second stanza —Wheelersburg batted around in the third for five more markers, before tacking on its final three points in the fourth.
The contest was called following the fifth inning with the 10-run mercy rule, as the first-place Pirates pushed their league record to an undefeated 14-0 —part of a stellar 18-1.
The Pirates play still Waverly and Minford in the SOC II to officially round out the schedule, but with Wheelersburg’ season sweep of second-place West —the worst the Pirates can do at this point is tie.
West is 13-2 in the league while third-place South Webster, which played the Pirates to their closest contests in the division all season (6-5 in 9 innings on March 30 and 3-1 on April 20), is now 9-5.
Wheelersburg’s matchup at Minford for Friday was postponed to Monday (May 9), meaning the heavily-favored Pirates must wait until at least then to make it outright official —should they win.
The loss left the Indians, which are now tied with Northwest for fourth place in the league at 8-7, at 9-10.
Wheelersburg’s tilt with Waverly is yet to be rescheduled —as the Division III Southeast District’s top-seeded Pirates play their (Ohio High School Athletic Association) sectional championship bout on Thursday (May 12).
The Pirates, versus Valley, plated all the runs they needed in the opening inning on a two-run Macee Eaton home run.
Catie Boggs singled to lead off and Haley Myers reached on a 6-4 fielder’s choice and advanced on a wild pitch —prior to Eaton’s latest homer.
Boggs singled in all three of her at-bats, and stole two bases, as she and Myers scored twice while Eaton amassed three runs scored.
Eaton’s other hit, between a third-inning walk, was a double in the fourth —followed by AndiJo Howard’s RBI-double and Rileigh Lang’s RBI-single, which gave the Pirates their final two runs.
The third-inning onslaught was highlighted by Myers’ RBI-single, Sydney Skiver’s solo home run, Lang’s double, and finally Lyndsay Heimbach’s two-out run-scoring single.
For Howard, she handled the Pirates’ Wednesday circle duties —striking out eight of the 18 Indians she saw, while walking one and allowing two hits.
In Valley’s initial at-bat, Taylor Cunningham singled and Haley Whitt walked back-to-back, but Howard stranded them there —as she struck out the side.
In fact, she retired 11 Indians in a row —before Karsyn Davis singled to lead off the fifth for Valley’s only other solitary baserunner.
Howard ended the game with three consecutive outs, amounting yet another complete-game performance.
© 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved