ATLANTA - Eastside's improbable run through the Class AAA state playoffs as a No. 4 seed ended Wednesday, as St. Pius swept the second-round series 7-5 and 15-4 at Oglethorpe University's Anderson Field.
A rough first inning doomed Eastside and starter Jerome Ivey in the nightcap. The Eagles, who shocked Region 7-AAA champion Creekview in the first round, made three errors and Ivey walked three batters, lasting just 1/3 of an inning in an 11-batter frame as St. Pius went up 7-0.
"We gave them seven outs (in the first); you can't do that with playoff teams," said Eastside coach Michael Poor. "The first inning sunk us."
Eastside chipped away at the lead, getting a run in the second on Will Gayler's RBI-single and three more runs in the third to cut the lead to 7-4. Meanwhile, Jason Digby pitched 42/3 innings of solid relief work, allowing just one earned run, but the back-end of the Eagles' bullpen imploded in the sixth and seventh innings, allowing six earned runs to help put the game out of reach. Still, Poor was optimistic afterwards.
"I'm not that disappointed," Poor said. "They climbed back into it; for a group that young to take a 7-0, first-inning deficit and push it to the side ... I couldn't be happier."
St. Pius (24-5) got a great relief effort from Andrew Mabini, who stopped the bleeding in the third and pitched 42/3 scoreless frames, scattering four hits.
"Eastside's a good ball club," said St. Pius coach J.T. Gilbert. "There's no way I wanted to go to a game three with them. Andrew came in and shut the door for us."
Adam Hall was the star in the opener as St. Pius came from behind to win, 7-5. The junior clubbed two, two-run home runs, one a towering blast in the first inning for the game's first runs; the second a line-drive shot in the fifth inning to give the Golden Lions the lead for good at 5-4.
Hall then pitched the final two innings in relief of winning pitcher Joseph Tuohy (5 IP, 10 H, 4 ER).
"He's a good baseball player," said Gilbert. "He started off real slow, but he's come on late. He pitched well for us."
"We challenged (Hall) and he beat us," Poor said. "But that happens. He's a real good hitter."
Eastside (11-15) had grabbed a 4-2 lead in the top of the fifth on three consecutive run-scoring hits by Keaton Anglin, Git Aiken and Seth Allen. After St. Pius added two more runs to go up 7-4, the Eagles had their chances in the sixth after Travis Marks' fielder's choice RBI cut the lead to 7-5. But Hall settled down and retired six of the last seven batters he faced to pick up the save.