CHILLICOTHE — No, you’re not having déjà vu.
Wheelersburg defeated Tuscarawas Valley in Wednesay’s Division III, Region 11 semifinal for the second-straight season. But this time around, it was much different.
After defeating the D-III East District champion Lady Trojans 13-6 at the same stage a season ago, the Lady Pirates flat-out walloped Tusky Valley 19-0 in five innings this time around to reach their second-straight Region 11 final.
“We’ve got good experience and we pull from that. We were really young last year when we made our run,” Wheelersburg coach Teresa Ruby said, afterwards. “We just talk about focus, do a lot of pre-work and were able to put that into practice today.”
Right off the bat in the first inning, ‘Burg sent 16 batters to the batter’s box and plated 11 runs.
A grand-slam home run by sophomore Sydney Skiver helped set the tone for the Lady Pirates, giving them a 5-0 lead out the gate.
“I knew I had to get my team going early. Everyone’s going to walk Macee, so I knew I had to be able to produce more runs,” Skiver said. “It felt great and it was a really great win.”
Skiver would go-on to drive in a team-high six RBI on three hits.
Freshman Catie Boggs hit ‘Burg’s second home run of the first in her second appearance at the plate in the inning — a three-run blast as part of her four RBI day.
“I was thrilled with how we came out in the beginning. We squared the ball up nice, hit some nice shots,” Ruby said. “Coming out of the gate, that’s exactly what we wanted to do and I think it kind of took the air out of them that first inning.”
Junior Macee Eaton piled on to the Lady Pirates score with a pair of home runs — a two-run homer in the top of the second in her third at-bat and a solo shot to start the fourth frame.
Eaton’s home runs were her 15th and 16th of her junior season and brings her career tally to 30 homers.
Seniors Lyndsay Heimbach and Brynley Preston each picked up a pair of hits for the Lady Pirates and a combined three RBI. Sophomore Haley Myers went 3-of-4 at the plate with three runs scored and an RBI.
Sophomore AndiJo Howard allowed just four hits and struck out six across her five innings in the circle.
With the victory, the Lady Pirates will continue their Region 11 title defense in Saturday’s D-III, Region 11 final versus Portsmouth West.
It’ll be the third meeting between Wheelersburg and West this season with both matchups during the regular season going the way of the Lady Pirates.
The Lady Pirates were 9-5 victors at West on April 14 and later 6-3 on April 27 at Gene Bennett Park.
“No games are easy. West is a formidable opponent — third time seeing them. We know those games were great games and I don’t expect anything different,” Ruby said. “They’re going to put the ball in play — they’ve got some good bats and so do we. It’s going to be a good boxing match.”
First pitch in Saturday’s Region 11 Final from Unioto High School is set for 12:00 p.m.
Wheelersburg 11 3 2 3 0 — 19 18 0
Tusky Valley 0 0 0 0 0 — 0 3 1
Catie Boggs 2-4, 2R, 4RBI
Haley Myers 3-4, 3R, RBI
Macee Eaton 2-3, 3R, BB, 3RBI, 2HR
AndiJo Howard 1-3, HBP, 2R
Sydney Skiver 3-5, 6RBI, HR
Rileigh Lang 2-2, 2R
Laken Wright 0-1
Lyndsay Heimbach 2-2, 2R, 2RBI
Brynley Preston 2-4, RBI
Sami Collins 1-1
Tusky Valley hitting
K. Rohr 1-2
C. Ramser 1-2
K. Spillman 1-2
E. Rennicker 1-2
K. Rohr (TV) 1IP, 6H, 8ER, 2BB, 1K (L)
S. Thompson (TV) 4IP, 13H, 9ER, 2BB, 1K
AndiJo Howard (W) 5IP, 3H, 0ER, 0BB, 6K (W)
Reach Jacob Smith at (740) 370-0713 ext. 1930, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @JacobSmithPDT © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved