LOCUST GROVE -- Like a freight train, Eastside's baseball team started slow but finished fast coming from behind to beat the Wildcats 6-5 on Friday.
The Eagles (18-4 overall, 12-2 Region 4-AAA play) offense was slow to start as they did not get a hit the time through the order.
However, Locust Grove (9-9, 7-6) did not have a problem as they logged a run in the first inning and four runs in the second inning to take a 5-0 lead. But Eastside pitcher Drew Buckhault did not let that sway his attention as he shutdown the Wildcats offense keeping them off the board for the rest of him time on the mound.
The momentum started to shift to the Eagles' side in the fifth inning with a Keith Buckhault single and a pair of walks to Musashi Briem and Matt Hitchcock to load the bases. Buckhault advanced on a pair of passed balls and scored on a wild pitch. Briem scored on a pinch-hit RBI single from Antonius Sims to narrow the margin to 5-3.
Senior Jake Wright took the mound in relief in the bottom of the fifth and other than a leadoff walk he was flawless as he retired the next three batters.
Eastside plated another run in the sixth as Joey Mitchell drew a walk, advanced to second on a wild pitch then crossed home plate as Wright reached base on a dropped third strike when the Wildcat catcher sailed the ball into right field.
In was the top of the seventh inning, the Locust Grove relief pitcher issued a leadoff walk to Hitchcock. In an effort to move the Eastside runner to second via sacrifice bunt, Daniel Garrett placed his bunt perfectly and legged it out for a base hit. Drew Buckhault followed and out-hustled the defense to reach first and load the bases.
With the Eagles still behind by a score of 5-4, Hitchcock thundered home to tie the game and the other runners advanced on a wild pitch. Garrett hustled home to plate the go-ahead run on the second wild pitch.
"We got off the bus flat and made some early mistakes that really made us battle," Eastside head coach Brad Weir said. "But again, our guys never gave up and battled for seven innings. Looking forward to the postseason, we have got to get better at hitting with runners on base."