EATON — Eaton’s baseball and softball teams opened SWBL Southwestern Division play last week with a pair of games against Franklin.
The softball team pulled off a sweep of the Wildcats, winning 12-11 in nine innings on Monday, March 29 and claiming a 17-7, six-inning run-rule win on Wednesday, March 31.
The baseball team fell 8-2 on Monday and 7-0 on Wednesday.
The softball team collected 16 hits in the first meeting and built an 11-5 lead heading into the bottom of the seventh, but the Wildcats rallied behind three home runs to score six runs to force extra innings.
Eaton pushed the winning run across in the top of the ninth.
Senior Erika Wilkinson singled with one out, and after sophomore Olivia Baumann followed with a single to center, which the center field misplayed, Wilkinson scored from first.
The hit capped a four-hit night for Baumann, who set a single-game school record with three home runs in the game.
“It’s always a battle when we open up league play with such a strong team,” Eaton softball coach Maggie Neanen said. “Our games with Franklin have always been highly competitive. But Olivia Baumann’s bat was hot, she hit a school record three over the fence. We were aggressive on the base paths capitalizing on their errors.”
Neanen said Wilkinson was in control on the mound for the first six innings.
“Headed into the seventh we had a six-run lead and their hitters hadn’t really squared a ball up from Erika yet, however a few base hits and home runs by Franklin, [and] they tied us up sending us to extras,” she said. “We battled until we finally were able to get a run across to take the lead and get the win.”
On Wednesday, it looked as if the Eagles were going to cruse to an easy win as they built a 6-0 lead after four innings.
But once again, a big inning allowed the Wildcats to get back into the game and actually take the lead.
Franklin scored seven runs, only one earned, in the top of the seventh to take a 7-6 lead as the Eagles committed three errors in the inning and a total of five for the game.
“Our defense the first couple innings came out strong behind pitcher Erika Wilkinson. She was throwing a very good game,” Neanen said. “In the fifth inning our defense fell asleep and couldn’t make the routine plays. Error after error led to a seven-run inning by Franklin. Ali Mowen came to the mound mid-inning and worked us out of the inning. That was not an easy job to do and she did it very well. We are very pleased by her finishing out the game for us on the mound.”
The Eagles responded in impressive fashion in the bottom of the inning, scoring 10 times to take a 16-7 lead. Eaton added a run in the bottom of the sixth for the run-rule win.
“I was extremely proud of our girls for coming in and ‘waking’ our bats up and getting 10 more runs across,” Neanen said. “Our team continues to amaze me with how much fight we show in games where we fall behind or give up a big inning. I am so proud of how much growth we’ve show as a team.”
Later in the week, the Eagles split a non-league doubleheader with Arcanum, dropping game one 8-4 before winning 14-10 in game two.
Neanen said going 5-1 during the first week of the season in encouraging.
“Ending one of the toughest weeks we have 5-1 is such a confidence booster to the program,” she said. “We are so excited to have the group of girls we do and can’t wait to see how we handle this week with again another tough week.”
Eaton was scheduled to travel to Bellbrook on Monday, April 5 before playing a pair of key SWBL contests later in the week. The Eagle will host Brookville on Wednesday and will travel to the Blue Devils on Friday. Brookville is considered the favorite to win the division title.
The baseball Eagles got off to a rough start to begin the season with a pair of match-ups against one of the SWBL’s top teams.
Eaton fell behind 3-0 after two, but a five-run fourth for the Wildcats gave them an 8-1 lead and eventually the win.
Eaton added single runs in the fourth and seventh and collected a total of six hits.
Senior Dawson Blaylock was 2-for-2 with a double and two RBIs. Junior Theo Winings went 2-for-3. Jakob Keller, Tyler Laycox and Reid Tinstman each added a hit.
In game two, Eaton matched the Wildcats for six inning as neither team was able to score.
But in the top of the seventh, Eaton committed a several errors and allowed Franklin to score seven times, with only one of those runs earned and suffered a 7-0 loss.
Keller led the offense going 2-for-3 with a double. Senior Travis Pittman, junior Christian Reyna and Winings each added a hit.
Eaton, now 0-2, was scheduled to play at Bellbrook on Monday. They will host Brookville on Wednesday and travel to Brookville on Friday.
On Sunday, April 11, Eaton will travel to Day Air Ballpark (formerly Fifth Third Field), home of the Dayton Dragons, to play Tri-County North. First pitch is scheduled for 4 p.m.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 or follow on Twitter @emowenjr