Eaton does work on bases


‘Burg slugger scores 2 key runs, go-ahead RBI-double

By Paul Boggs - [email protected]



Wheelersburg’s Macee Eaton slides safely into home plate for the game-tying run during the Pirates’ Division III state semifinal softball game against Cardington-Lincoln on Friday at Akron’s Firestone Stadium.

Wheelersburg’s Macee Eaton slides safely into home plate for the game-tying run during the Pirates’ Division III state semifinal softball game against Cardington-Lincoln on Friday at Akron’s Firestone Stadium.


Courtesy of Terry Stevenson of www.burgsports.com

AKRON — Normally, Wheelersburg’s Macee Eaton does damage to opposing softball pitchers —via way of her arms and her powerful bat.

And, she did once —with a run-scoring double in the fifth inning, which broke a 2-2 tie.

But, for Friday evening inside Akron’s spacious Firestone Stadium and against Cardington-Lincoln in the Division III state semifinals, it was actually Eaton’s legs that paved a lot of Wheelersburg’s way.

Eaton, who was the center of attention all week with Wheelersburg’s Pirates preparing to play in their second straight state semifinal and fifth for the last seven seasons, ended up scoring two runs —without hitting one of her regular-occurring home-run shots.

As Eaton received with two intentional walks from Cardington-Lincoln pitcher Genevieve Longsdorf in her first two plate appearances, she scored twice —on a double steal with Sydney Skiver in the third inning, and on an error and unsuccessful fielder’s choice off Skiver’s bat in the fifth.

Wheelersburg went on to win with an impressive 5-2 triumph —scoring the final four points after trailing 2-1 on a two-run second-stanza home run by C-L’s Riley Burchett.

“I think people forget about that,” said veteran Wheelersburg coach Teresa Ruby, of Eaton’s ability on the basepaths. “We knew we wanted to be aggressive on the bases, we identified we might be able to run and we took advantage of it.”

The Pirates punched their ticket to Saturday night’s Division III state championship bout against Massillon Tuslaw, as Wheelersburg was set to play in its fourth all-time state title tilt (2004 and 2017 runner-up and 2016 champion).

The question involving Eaton, the junior slugger three-hole hitter who has 33 career home runs including 19 this season, was whether or not Cardington would pitch to her.

Those Pirates wanted no part of Eaton in her opening two-at bats, but her first intentional walk was just another important Wheelersburg baserunner —which directly led to Catie Boggs scoring, when Skiver and Rileigh Lang drew back-to-back walks with Lang landing the RBI.

Boggs, Eaton and Skiver loaded the bases for Lang with two outs, although Boggs did reach on an error —but the point should be well-taken.

In the third, Eaton again was walked intentionally, this time as the leadoff batter —and advanced to second and third respectively on a groundout and Skiver single.

Eaton and Skiver then hooked up as part of a double steal, as Skiver was caught stealing second —but Eaton made it home for the tying 2-2 run.

Ruby and Eaton discussed the strategy behind that decision, and it was a play which Wheelersburg had practiced.

“We worked that play and executed it right,” said Ruby. “We had seen video on them. They wanted to make that throw to second, so we anticipated that.”

“I am extremely proud of Sydney because she has been working extremely hard all season, and she has kept on focusing on hitting on the ground so they would make a mistake,” said Eaton, praising Skiver. “She drew that throw, so I am extremely proud of her.”

Cardington then pitched to Eaton in the fifth following the leadoff single by Haley Myers, and Eaton —as per usual —made the opposition pay dearly.

She smacked a hard double shot to right field, which actually ricocheted off the right-fielder’s legs — and almost 20 feet to her right towards center.

That big bounce benefited ‘Burg, as Myers raced around from first for the go-ahead run.

“I’ve worked on it all season. Understanding that sometimes they don’t want to pitch to me, but every time they mess up I want to take the opportunity and crush it,” said Eaton. “I wasn’t surprised they pitched to me there, but every time I come up to bat, I always think I am going to hit. So when they want to take it away from me, I just try to make it up on the next one.”

Ruby interjected as Eaton answered the postgame press conference question.

“The key to that is the leadoff hit by Haley Myers, getting on base in front of her,” said the coach. “It was late in the game. I thought they would walk Macee early on, but the later we got in the game, if we get people on base and it was a tight game, I knew that sometime they would have to pitch to her.”

Eaton advanced to third on a wild pitch, then — kinda — connected with Skiver again to make it a 4-2 advantage.

Skiver hit a ground ball to shortstop, as Burchett bobbled the ball — and thus eliminated an out on Skiver at first.

Instead, Eaton broke for home —and slid safely in as Burchett’s throw sailed high to the backstop.

Ruby explained in an interview at Gene Bennett Park in Wheelersburg on Tuesday the importance of Eaton’s impact on the bases —besides her hitting.

And, in Akron for Friday, that impact indeed was felt —and damage done.

Wheelersburg’s Macee Eaton slides safely into home plate for the game-tying run during the Pirates’ Division III state semifinal softball game against Cardington-Lincoln on Friday at Akron’s Firestone Stadium.
https://www.portsmouth-dailytimes.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/28/2022/06/web1_Eaton-on-bases-1-1.jpegWheelersburg’s Macee Eaton slides safely into home plate for the game-tying run during the Pirates’ Division III state semifinal softball game against Cardington-Lincoln on Friday at Akron’s Firestone Stadium. Courtesy of Terry Stevenson of www.burgsports.com
‘Burg slugger scores 2 key runs, go-ahead RBI-double

By Paul Boggs

[email protected]

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved

Reach Paul Boggs at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1926, by email at [email protected], or on Twitter @paulboggssports © 2022 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved