WEST PORTSMOUTH For the better part of the last decade the SOC II softball championship has run through either Wheelersburg or West. On Friday the title was again decided at a game in West Portsmouth but this time the champions were from Lucasville. With a 6-1 victory over the Senators on Friday, Valley claimed its first outright SOC II championship in more than a decade. "It's the first time in 12 years that we've done that," Valley coach Montie Spriggs said. "All the credit is to the girls. They've worked very hard. They played good ball all year long and they deserve it. They've played real well." Spriggs acknowledged the roles played by West and Wheelersburg over the last decade and added that the SOC II is among the tougher leagues in the region making the Lady Indians win that much sweeter. "(It's been) West and Wheelersburg most of the time. It's been that way for quite a bit," Spriggs said. "In this league this year anybody could beat anybody right now... There's several teams in the league that have improved a lot. It's a tough league." West took a lead early in the contest, scoring on a wild pitch in the bottom of the first inning but wasn't able to mount much offense the rest of the way. "We had a little bit of momentum going there for a little bit and they came out in the fourth or fifth inning and got a few balls to drop here and there and got a few runs in," West coach Bart Evans said. "(Valley pitcher) Braiden (Dillow) pretty much set us down after that." Dillow earned the SOC-clinching win from the circle for Valley, striking out six in a complete game. Dillow was also the Lady Indians leader at the plate, going 4-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored. Other offensive standouts for Valley in the win were Brooke Cooper (2-for-4), Kaylin Corns (2-for-4), Megan Spriggs (2-for-3) and Kaitlyn Patrick (1-for-3). Cooper led the way with three RBI. "We hit the ball hard," Valley coach Montie Spriggs said. "We hit two to the fence with two outs. We got people on base and made the outfield do things." West managed just three hits in the ball game on offense and defensively Lexey Kegley took the loss for the Senators despite earning six strikeouts. "We've been fighting hard all year..." Evans said. "The girls have all put the effort in. They've all fought and we've been in every game. No game has really been a blowout but one. Maybe things will turn around for us come tournament time." West travels to Circleville today while the 2010 SOC II champion Lady Indians will play their final conference games against South Webster on Wednesday.
JOHN STEGEMAN can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Valley 000 330 0 6 12 1 West 100 000 0 1 3 0 WP: Dillow LP: Kegley Hitting Leaders Valley Dunn 1-4, Corns 2-4, Dillow 4-4 3B 2R, Cooper 2-4 3B 3 RBI, Spriggs 2-3 2B RBI, Patrick 1-3 RBI West White 1-2, Phipps 1-3, Mosley 1-3 Records Valley 20-1 (13-0): West 5-11 (4-8)