GAINESVILLE -- Everything happened to fall in line for Eastside's baseball team as it won the Region 8-AAAA championship with a 7-2 win at Chestatee and a loss by Stephens County on Friday.
"I am very happy for our school, our community and most importantly for our players," Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said. "The region championship is a product of hard work and support from everyone involved with Eastside Eagles baseball."
After losing to Lumpkin County 9-6 on Tuesday, the Eagles (19-5, 11-3) dropped to second place in the region standings holding little hope of changing their fate having split the series with then region leader Stephens County.
But on the final day of the regular season, the stars aligned and Eastside emerged as the Region 8-AAAA champions.
They put themselves in a position to win the championship by sweeping Chestatee (4-22, 2-14) in their Thursday and Friday games. But they also needed some help, which they got.
Region leader Stephens County (18-5, 13-3) were upset against Madison County (8-17, 5-11) 5-4 but that was not enough to give the Eagles the championship. The Eagles also got help from Walnut Grove (15-11, 12-4) who was facing Lanier (18-8, 11-5) in a battle for third place in the region. Walnut Grove succeeded in sweeping Lanier which put the Eagles back atop the standings, securing the championship.
In Thursday's home game versus Chestatee, the Eagles honored their six seniors, Musashi Briem, Ty Raynor, Daniel Garrett, Hunter White, Chase Chancey and Cody Walker. The Eagles gave them a nice send off with a 10-4 victory.
Raynor got the start on the mound for the Eagles and had a good outing, giving up seven hits over five innings of work while walking two and striking out a pair. The Eagles pounded out 11 hits with Drew Buckhault pacing the team going 3-for-3. Nick Womack and Garrett each had a pair of hits and registering a hit apiece were Evan House, Walker, Peyton Pallay and Hunter Ballard.
Dustin Kerbow came on in relief to close out the game pitching the final two innings giving up two hits, walking two and notching two strikeouts.
In the final game of the regular season the Eagles lefty, Pallay, was tagged with the pitching duties doing his job keeping the War Eagles off the scoreboard through the first five innings allowing only one hit while the Eastside offense stalled. Only putting one run on the board through five innings courtesy of a Ballard single, the Eagles sparked a rally in the sixth inning plating six runs as Chestatee put the first two batters on base with a walk and an error. Eastside capitalized on the opportunity and followed with single from Buckhault followed by a pair of doubles from Womack and Garrett.
Through six innings of work, Pallay gave up two hits and two walks while striking out six batters. Gray Ritchey took the mound as the closer in the seventh inning and held Chestatee to one unearned run as the Eagles sealed win.