The Eastside baseball team refused to lose in their second game of the series against Stephens County as the Eagles topped the Indians 16-14 in nine innings on Tuesday.
With the score tied at 13 heading into the top of the ninth inning, Eastside (13-11 overall, 8-6 Region 8-AAAA) centerfielder Jacob Wilder led off the inning with a single and was sacrificed to second before continuing to third as the ball was misplayed by the Stephens County (14-7, 9-5) pitcher.
Austin Holloway drove in the go-ahead run to give the Eagles a one-run lead as Wilder crossed the plate on a fielder’s choice. Hunter Ballard drew a walk and then stole second base to put two runners in scoring position. Hank Steele belted a double in the gap to add a couple of insurance runs to the score.
In the bottom of the ninth, Steele’s pitch caught too much of the plate allowing the Indians’ Ben Cleveland to go yard closing the gap to 16-14. The Indians began to mount a threat as the next batter reached on an infield single, followed by a fielder’s choice for the first out of the inning. Steele got a strikeout before a walk let the lineup rollover and a base hit by Davis McCall loaded the bases for Stephens County. But Steele was able to strikeout Mason Long on a 3-2 count handing the win to Steele and the Eagles.
Both teams combined for 30 runs, 37 hits with 22 men left on base and six home runs.
“Baseball is a game of perseverance and our team displayed a level of tenacity that is difficult to match,” Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said. “We put ourselves in a position to win by having everyone on the roster contribute at the plate and in the field.”
The Eagles jumped out to an early lead by posting four runs in the opening frame on the strength of back-to-back singles from Ballard and Connor Hewell, a triple off the bat of Chase Raines and a home run from Drew Buckhault. The Indians matched them run-for-run by plating four of their own in the first inning by combining three hits with a walk and a hit batsman.
Eastside took the lead in the second inning with a walk to Jared Jones and a Holloway single crossing the dish courtesy of a sac-fly from Hewell and a suicide squeeze from Steele respectively to put the Eagles up 6-4. Not to be outdone, the Indians tied it back up with a two run homer from Logan Bell. As Eastside stumbled in the third, Stephens would take their only lead of the game by pushing a run across to make it 7-6.
The Eagles got back to work in the fourth as Ballard was hit by a pitch followed by Hewell reaching on error. Steele pulled a single to bring in a run and Buckhault belted his second home run of the game to clear the bases and collect three more RBI’s making it a 10-7 game.
Bell came up for the Indians in the bottom of the inning and promptly sent a solo home run into the trees followed by a pair of doubles from Evan Rumsey and Cleveland that helped to narrow the gap to 10-9 as the inning came to a close.
Both teams would add another run to the tally in the fifth inning, but both teams also left the bases loaded and were unable to capitalize on the situation. The Eagles run came on as Hewell reached on another single and Pallay collected the RBI.
Eastside tacked on couple of more runs in the sixth with another single each from Holloway and Raines. Bell hit his third home run of the game to tie the game with 13 runs for each team.