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Ball four call seal Eastside’s fate

WALNUT GROVE — A ball four call on a 3-1 count ended the game with the Eagles dropping the second game of the series 5-4 to Walnut Grove on Tuesday.

Following a double play in the bottom of the seventh inning, the Eagles (11-9 overall, 6-4 Region 8-AAAA) decided to intentionally walk the next two batters to load the bases to face Bailey Dalton.

The Warriors (9-9, 7-1) batter showed patience waiting for the perfect pitch with a hitters count as he took the ball four call to plate Bryce Shupe for the win.

“We were going to pitch to the batter with runners at first and third. Once the runners reached second and third I decided to load em up to give us a force at every base,” Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said. “I had faith in our pitcher to throw strikes and I still do.”

One of the players walked, Hunter Rabb, had a hot bat going 3-for-3 including a double.

Walnut Grove had a 4-2 to start the seventh inning but the Eagles came back to rally to tie the game with two outs.

Hunter Ballard kept the Eagles hope alive with a single. A Drew Buckhault double put Ballard on third base allowing Hank Steele to plate tie the game with a single.

“We played hard and both teams scrapped it out,” Ayres said. “Unfortunately we came out on the losing end but I was very proud of our team and the late comeback in the top of the seventh.”

Eastside started the game taking a 1-0 lead when Ballard was driven home by Steele who plated all four of Eastside’s runs.

The Warriors took the 2-1 lead in the second inning before Steele’s fielder’s choice let Austin Holloway get to the plate to tie the game.

Walnut Grove scored in the fifth and sixth inning giving them a 4-2 lead before the Eagles tied the game in the top of the seventh.

The Eagles had 11 hits with Holloway, Ballard, Buckhault, Steele and Chase Raines getting two hits each. Josh Sims had the other hit for the Eagles.

Gray Ritchey had a good outing but still got the loss. In his 6.1 innings on the mound, Ritchey gave up nine hits while walking two batters and striking out five.

Joining Rabb with multiple hits was Jake Frazier who went 4-for-2.

The loss put Eastside in fifth place in the region with six games left. Eastside’s next game will be at home against Lumpkin County to start the two-game series. The Indians are currently in fourth place with a 5-3 region record, on Monday. Lanier, who split the series against Eastside. is third place with a 6-3 record. Lanier beat the Eagles in their first meeting 7-2 before Eastside tied the series with a 3-1 win.