COVINGTON - Eastside baseball coach Michael Poor doesn't have an explanation for why his team is playing in the second round of the Class AAA state playoffs.
The Eagles had to win their final three regular season games just to finish 9-12 and get into the playoffs as Region 8-AAA's No. 4 seed. The pitching staff had given up 10 or more runs in seven games and had to go visit Region 7-AAA champion Creekview in the first round.
Apparently, none of that mattered.
The Eagles won game three, 8-6 in eight innings, to clinch the improbable series victory over Creekview, and now find themselves two wins away from the Class AAA quarterfinals.
"To be honest with you, I really couldn't tell you," Poor said about how his team was able to pull the first-round upset after a below-average regular season. "Our lineup hasn't changed, our rotation hasn't changed, we're just catching the breaks. Things are just starting to go our way now."
Nothing was going Bobby Coggins' way in a game one start against Creekview. The junior left-hander was roughed up in a game Eastside would eventually win, 12-7. Creekview rolled in game two, 15-2 to force a deciding game three. That's when Coggins got a second chance.
First, he squeezed home the tying run in the top of the seventh inning, and after Git Aiken and Tim Roton had run-scoring singles in the top of the eighth to give Eastside an 8-6 cushion, Coggins shut the door with a scoreless bottom of the eighth.
"(Coggins) got roughed up a little in game one, had a little trouble with the strike zone," Poor said. "It ended up working to our benefit because Bobby didn't throw a lot (in game one), and when he got the hook early in game one it allowed us to go back to him in game three."
Eastside's next test will come at Region 5-AAA runner-up St. Pius, a 22-game winner with an offense that averages more than nine runs per game. But Poor is only worried about his team.
"Just like when we went to Creekview, I'm not concerned about St. Pius; I'm just concerned about our guys," Poor said. "There's absolutely no pressure on us right now. We have absolutely nothing to prove; we've proven ourselves to ourselves. We're going to go out and have fun."
Kurt Aschermann Jr. can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org