COVINGTON — Eastside’s Hunter Ballard’s triple allowed Austin Holloway to score in the bottom of the seventh giving Eastside the 6-5 win over Madison County on Monday.
Trailing 5-2 heading into the top of the seventh inning, the Red Raiders (7-8 overall, 0-5 Region 8-AAAA) were able to take advantage of a tiring Drew Buckhault. who got his seventh start of the season for the Eagles (10-6, 5-1), to make it 5-3.
Buckhault exited the game after working 6.1 innings giving up three hits and one walk while striking out six batters.
“We got a good performance from Drew Buckhault,” Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said. “He went deep in the game and that helped us conserve some pitching.”
After leaving the game with two runners on base, relief pitcher Josh Sims walked the next batter to load the bases. After striking out the next batter, Sims gave up a single that allowed two runs to score to tie the game. Madison County tried to take the lead but the third runner trying to cross the plate was thrown out to end the inning.
Holloway put the winning run on base with a single to right field before taking second on a Red Raiders miscue. Ballard took the second pitch delivered to him and drove it to the right field fence for a triple pushing Holloway across the dish for the victory.
“Persistence pays off and we finally had a pair of back-to-back hits to win the game in the seventh,” Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said.
Madison County put their leadoff hitter aboard with a single in the first inning but left him stranded as Buckhault retired the next three batters in order. Eastside struggled to generate any offense early in the game as Madison County pitcher Wyatt Wood did not allow any hits through three innings of work. Meanwhile, the Eagles were spotting the Red Raiders a run each in the second and third inning as a result of a pair of errors and a wild pitch to give them a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Buckhault held up his end of the bargain by only allowing one base runner over his next three innings. This lack of Madison County offense allowed Eastside to chip away at the lead. A Hank Steele single and a walk to Chase Raines in the fourth inning allowed the two to cross the plate to tie the game on a ball that was ripped down the line by Austin Kerbow.
The Eagles took the lead in the sixth inning when Buckhault drew a walk. That was followed by Steele reaching on a sac-bunt with a Red Raiders error and a walk to Kerbow to load the bases. Peyton Pallay took advantage of the opportunity and picked up a couple of RBI’s with a single to right field. Eastside added another run with Jared Jones collecting the RBI by plating Kerbow to make the score 5-2 going into the seventh inning.
The Eagles travel to Madison County today to complete the series. Eastside will close out the week on Friday by hosting Walnut Grove.