By Brad Morris
WILLIAMSPORT – A solo home run to open the ninth inning by Megan Miller on Wednesday gave Unioto the lead for good in an 8-6 Scioto Valley Conference win over host Westfall.
The Shermans (8-2, 5-0) now stand alone atop the conference, thanks in part to a 15-9 win by Southeastern (10-2, 3-2) over Adena (8-2, 4-1), rallied from deficits of 3-0 and 4-2 to ultimately log the extra-inning triumph over the Mustangs (11-3, 3-2).
Megan Miller’s long ball gave the Shermans a 7-6 edge and the visitors’ pushed across an insurance run when a bases loaded walk to Halle Uhrig forced in Alexis Book from third base.
The Shermans went on to retire the Mustangs in order in the bottom of the ninth to seal the win.
Unioto reached the scoreboard on a two-run homer by Avery Miller in the sixth and struck for four runs in the top of the seventh to take their first lead of the game at 6-4. Book provided the big blow of the frame with a three-run blast and Avery Miller followed with a solo shot.
Westfall starter Olivia Dumm allowed just three hits and struck out nine Unioto batters over the front five frames before running into trouble in the sixth, seventh and ninth innings.
“Olivia started out strong and even when she lost a little velocity, she made a couple of adjustments and still did a nice job,” Westfall coach Lance Heath said. “She continued to battle, but I probably left her in a little too long.”
The Mustangs grabbed a 3-0 lead in the fourth inning on a homer from Maddie Mullins that also knocked in Leah Ragland and Kylee Henry. Two innings later, Mullins hit a liner that glanced off the glove of the center fielder and over the fence for a solo shot to make it 4-2.
“Maddie hit a couple of big shots that gave us the lead,” Heath said. “Her senior leadership is incredible and she came through big for us.”
After the Shermans grabbed the lead in the top of the seventh, Abbie Bickenheuser provided the answer for the Mustangs in their half of the inning on a two-run blast that also scored Delana Landefeld to force extra innings.
“Abbie is a competitor, she’ll always compete and she came through with a big blast there to keep the game going,” Heath said.
Book paced the Shermans by going 4-for-5 with three runs and three RBI, Avery Miller was 3-for-5 with a pair of homers and three RBI and Megan Miller added a pair of hits.
Ragland and Mullins had two hits apiece for the Mustangs.
“We definitely competed all the way through, but there were times where we didn’t hit the ball into the gaps we wanted to,” Heath said. “That’s how it goes sometimes.
“We left a few runs out there that we need to work on moving them around the bases.”
The Mustangs, who are now tied for third place with Southeastern, continue conference play on Friday at Zane Trace.