Eastside dominates in 14-4 win over Knights

COVINGTON -- Eastside's defense played solidly behind pitcher Peyton Pallay after errors cost them the lead to beat Johnson, Gainesville 14-4 in six innings on Wednesday.

Eastside (16-1 overall, 8-0 Region 8-AAAA) played the first inning in complete control as Pallay struck out all three batters while the offense took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the inning off a Musashi Briem single.

But a couple of walks and a couple of errors allowed the Knights (1-9, 0-8) to take a 4-1 lead and give them hope of winning their first region game of the season.

The Eagles responded by coming back in the home half of the second and scoring three runs to tie the game.

"That was just one of those innings that happen sometimes. We have to fight our way through that and dig our way our of that hole if it happens," Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said. "No matter what the score is, our guys are going to go out there believing that we can do our job and give ourselves an opportunity."

After giving up the four runs and two hits, Eastside's defense kept the Knights off the bases until the sixth inning when Pallay gave up his third walk of the game. The Eastside lefty may have given up three walks and two hits, but he countered with 11 strikeouts.

"Peyton pitched well," Ayres said. "He struggled in that second inning but that happens to everybody. The good thing is that he bounced back from it and kept them to four runs so we could have the opportunity to score the runs we needed to score.

"We've been playing good defense. I've been really happy with our defense the last eight or nine games. Our thing is we want to get ourselves back in that dugout. The sooner we get back in the dugout, the sooner we can get some hits and get some runs."

After tying the game, the Eagles took the lead in the third inning with a pair of runs before crushing the Knights with a five-run fifth inning to make it 11-4.

The game-ending three runs came off the bats of Hank Steele, who hit an RBI double to plate Nick Womack, and Cody Walker, who had a two-run single to bring Steele and Evan House home.

The Eagles had 14 hits with Steele leading the way, going 4-for-4 with two doubles and two RBIs. Besides getting the win, Pallay helped himself going 2-for-3, including a double and three RBIs.

Also getting two hits in the win were Briem, Hunter Ballard and Womack.

The Eagles also did a good job on the base path once they got on with 12 steals.

"We felt like we could run on them and basically, we were going to run until they started throwing us out," Ayres said. "We were going to do that until they made us think twice about being successful."