EATON — Eaton’s softball team improved to 9-3 overall and 7-3 in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwestern Division with three wins in four tries last week.
The Eagles swept Valley View 7-1 and 11-0 and beat National Trail 9-4.
But Eaton saw its hopes of a league title take a hit with a 9-6 loss to Brookville.
In the first game against Valley View, on Wednesday, April 18, Eaton got off to a slow start.
The Spartans scored an unearned run in the bottom of the first. Eaton tallied two runs in the second and added two more in the fifth to take a 4-1 lead.
Eaton added three more runs in the seventh and it could have been more.
With the bases loaded, junior Emily Dungan hit a ball over the center field fence for what appeared to be her first career home run and a grand slam. However, the umpires ruled the ball went under the fence after Valley View’s center fielder collided with the fence and only awarded Dungan a double. Instead of a 9-1 lead, Eaton led 7-1.
“We played good enough for a win, wasn’t our prettiest but I’ve learned a win is a win,” Eaton coach Maggie Neanen said.
Freshman Carsyn Lammers collected three hits in her varsity debut.
Freshman Lexi Miller went 3-for-4 with a double and Dungan added two hits and two RBIs.
Junior Annika Gels pitched a complete game 1-hitter, while striking out nine.
On Thursday, Eaton had a chance to stay within a game of league-leader Monroe with a win over Brookville.
However, the Eagles allowed nine unearned runs and suffered a 9-6 setback.
After falling behind 2-0, Eaton rallied to take a 3-2 lead after four innings.
The Blue Devils, though, took advantage of several Eaton miscues in the fifth to score six runs to take an 8-3 lead.
The Eagles added two runs in the bottom of the fifth to trim their deficit to 8-5.
In the sixth, Eaton closed the gap to two.
The key play of the inning came when Annika Gels singled to center to score a run to make it an 8-6 game, but the Eagles had a runner thrown out at home, on the same play, for the final out of the inning with the middle of its order coming up.
“We are very evenly matched with a solid Brookville team but we beat ourselves again with them,” Neanen said. “We fought so hard to come back and then gain a lead but one inning we had back-to-back errors and hit a batter, plus a walk and that inning beat us. We tried to fight back in the sixth but didn’t have enough in us. I was proud of the girls for the heart they played with, just didn’t get the job done.”
Gels went 2-for-3 with an RBI. Becca Mowen added two hits. Miller drove in two runs with a pair of hits and Quinlyn Sittloh had two hits and an RBI.
On Friday, Eaton knocked off Valley View for the second time.
Gels went 2-for-2, while Mowen added a triple and hit her first home run of the season, while driving in six runs. Bailey Shepherd also added a pair of hits.
“We were able to string multiple hits together and take advantage of Valley View mistakes,” Neanen said. “Becca and Annika have worked themselves out of hitting slumps and Bailey Shepherd’s bat is coming alive more and more each game. We continue to play hard.”
Eaton closed out the week on Saturday with win at National Trail.
“We picked up a much needed game against National Trail, they are a very good team in the CCC so we wanted to play them and make ourselves better,” Neanen said.
Gels was 4-for-4 with a pair of doubles and two RBIs and Mowen went 3-for-4 with two RBIs. Junior Alysa Sorrell also added two hits.
“Annika Gels was on fire at the plate going perfect with two doubles. Becca stayed hot from the night before and was able to string three hits together,” Neanen said. “Our hitting is finally starting to come together. We just still need to get better on our defensive game. The past three games we have had nine errors and that’s too many, especially when they are on easy routine plays. But we did finish the week going 3-1 heading into a big weekend for as we head north to Akron.”
Eaton was scheduled to host Monroe on Tuesday, April 24.
The Eagles are scheduled to play at Firestone Stadium on Saturday and Sunday as part of The Akron Racers Foundation Grand Slam tournament.
The Eagles will meet Akron Ellet, a Division I program, at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday before facing last season’s Division II state runner-up, Akron Hoban at 3:45 p.m.
Eaton will wrap up play with Mentor, another solid D-I program, Sunday at 9 a.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH