Eagles on five-game losing streak after sweep by Lumpkin County

What started as almost a sure thing in making the Class AAAA playoffs has turned into uncertainty after Eastside lost their fifth straight Region 8-AAAA game on Wednesday.

Lumpkin County (16-6, 10-3) was the latest team to take advantage of the Eagles (11-11, 6-6) five-game skid beating them 8-4 at Eastside on Tuesday before completing the sweep with an 8-3 win on Wednesday.

Drew Buckhault took the mound for the Eagles in the first game where he cruised through three scoreless innings without allowing a hit as the Eastside offense gave him a slim 1-0 lead to work with after the first inning.

Austin Holloway reached on a single followed later by an RBI single off the bat of Hank Steele to give the Eagles the edge.

Eastside’s lead disappeared in the fourth inning as the Indians plated two runs courtesy of a walk, a hit and an error giving them a 2-1 lead. But the Eagles bounced back in the bottom of the inning with a pair of runs to retake the 3-2 lead. An Indians error and a Josh Sims single put the runners on the bases allowing Holloway to drive them home with a two-RBI double.

Unfortunately, the game slipped away from the Eagles as the Indians scored two runs in the final three innings. The only other Eastside threat came in the sixth inning as Peyton Pallay reached on an error while the opposing pitcher began to wane as he issued a trio of walks to force in a run. A pop fly and a strikeout ended the threat as the inning came to a close. Buckhault’s six-inning effort yielded six hits and three walks while striking out four batters. Travis Smith and Dustin Kerbow combined to close out the final inning.

Holloway started the second game at Lumpkin County with a lead-off single. While the Eagles had a chance to jump out to a lead, they were unable to get another hit leaving Holloway stranded.

The same thing happened in the second inning as Connor Hewell and Pallay were also left stranded after getting back-to-back singles. Hunter Ballard was also left hung out to dry after reach the base path with a single in the third.

Meanwhile, sophomore pitcher Gray Ritchey and the Eagles defense were not turning in their best performances as the Indians posted a run in the first inning before adding three more runs in the third inning to get a 4-0 lead.

The Eastside offense continued to struggle and did not register a hit in the fourth, fifth or sixth inning. Lumpkin County however continued to hit the ball as they added a pair of runs in the fourth and another pair in the sixth to take an 8-0 lead.

The Eagles took advantage of the Indians pitcher as he began to struggle in the top of the seventh inning loading the bases with Hewell reaching on error before he walked Justin Moore and Smith.

Hewell scored on a throwing error followed by Moore being awarded home on a balk. Jake Jones scored after another Holloway single to make the score 8-3. Ballard would register another single before the inning came to a close.

Ritchey finished the night giving up 11 hits over 5.1 innings of work, striking out six while walking two batters. In relief, Hewell gave up one hit and issued one walk in his .2 inning.

Eastside will again travel north to Toccoa on Friday to face Stephens County.