EATON — Eaton’s softball team claimed its third straight sectional championship with a pair of run-rule wins over Trotwood-Madison and Thurgood Marshall last week. In addition, the Eagles wrapped up the regular season with a key league win to secure second place in the Southwestern Buckeye League’s Southwestern Division.
The three wins also gave Eaton a single-season school record for wins in a season with 20.
“To do it all at home is awesome,” Eaton coach Maggie Neanen said. “To do it at home, in front of our amazing fans, it’s a great feeling. When we took over the program (five years ago) we thought eight wins was an accomplishment. Never did we guess we would be able to reach 20 wins. But we knew what we had coming. The seniors deserve 20 wins.”
Eaton opened the week with a 14-3 win over visiting Belbrook as the host Eagles celebrated Senior Night on Monday, May 6. The win improved Eaton’s league mark to 9-3 and a program best finish in the league.
Sophomore Lexi Miller drove in four runs as Eaton scored 10 runs in the first three inning to grab control of the game.
Eaton scored three in the first inning, three more in the second and four in the third.
Eaton, which pounded out 15 hits, was led by senior Becca Mowen’s 4-for-4 performance. She also drove in three runs.
Miller went 2-for-4 with a triple.
Junior Rilee Worley was 2-for-4 with three RBI, including hitting a walk-off home run to secure the run-rule win.
Senior pitcher Annika Gels picked up the win, tossing all five innings. She allowed five hits and struck out five.
Eaton started Division II sectional tournament play on Tuesday, May 7, with a 20-0 win in 5-innings over visiting Trotwood.
Gels and sophomore Erica Wilkinson combined to throw a one-hit shutout.
Gels led things off in the circle for Eaton. She allowed one hit and no runs over two innings, striking out five and walking zero. Wilkinson tossed the final three innings, striking out five.
It didn’t take long for Eaton’s offense to get rolling as the home team scored 10 times in the first inning. They added four more runs in the second and closed out the scored with a six-run third.
Eaton finished the game with 20 hits as all 13 players on the Eagles rosters had a hit.
Mowen and Miller each went 3-for-4. Mowen drove in three runs, while Miller brought in two. Gels added a pair of hits and drove in two runs. Junior Ashley Early added a hit and two RBI. Senior Alysa Sorrell and Junior Bailey Shepherd each had two RBI.
Senior Emily Dungan and Wilkinson each had two hits.
For the game, Eaton had five doubles and a home run.
In the sectional final, against Thurgood Marshall, Eaton scored four runs in the bottom of the first before rain forced the game to be postponed until Friday. The game was started on Thursday, May 9.
When the game resumed, so did the Eagles offense as they added an additional four runs before the first inning ended to take an 8-0 lead en route to a 22-0 win in 5-innings.
Gels, Wilkinson and sophomore Carsyn Lammers combined to throw a no-hitter for Eaton.
Sorrell went 3-for-3 with four RBI. Worley added two hits and two RBI. Milled added a home run and drove in three runs. Dungan was 3-for-5 with four RBI and Gels collected a pair of hits and added three RBI.
With the two home runs, the Eagles have now hit a school record 28 on the season.
The game marked the final home game for the four seniors, Dungan, Gels, Mowen and Sorrell.
“It’s definitely been an emotional week,” Neanen said. “To have them go out with a win here (and get the school record) and get a sectional championship again it means a lot. The seniors have meant a lot to me and the program.”
The class has combined to go 71-28 thus far in their career.
Eaton (20-3), the No. 3 seed, was scheduled to play No. 8 Bellbrook in a district semifinal on Tuesday, May 14 at Tippecanoe. The winner advances to the district final to be played Saturday, May 18, at Centerville High School, to play either state-ranked Clinton-Massie or Hamilton Ross. The game is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m.
“Our program’s at that point where we expect to get to the next game,” Neanen said of winning another sectional title at home. “It’s awesome. It’s good for the program and the school and the community. It’s nice to see, when you look out and see fans I’ve never seen at games before, are coming out to watch us. I’m glad we could do it here at home. It feels great. I’m happy for the program.”
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH