COVINGTON - After Mother Nature postponed the first meeting between the Alcovy and Eastside High baseball clubs, she would have nothing to do with Tuesday's thrilling extra inning battle between the two rival schools.
In a game that took eight innings to decide a winner, it would be the Tigers (1-3 overall, 1-2 Region 8-AAAA South) who would leave with bragging rights, winning 8-5.
"It feels great," said Alcovy head coach Joe Mobley after the victory. "It's always nice to beat your hometown team, especially one like Eastside who is already established."
In the first inning the Eagles (1-5) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead after a two-run single off the bat of Kyle Durand. Pitching with a lead was Eastside sophomore Cameron Davenport, who threw three scoreless innings while giving up just two hits.
Threatening to score soon afterwards were the Tigers, who had runners on second and third after hits from Cody Bala and Taylor Jackson. But a sacrifice fly that would have scored Bala was instead called out after the umpire ruled he tagged up too early.
With the lead in hand and the Eagles batting in the bottom of the third, Eastside grabbed two more runs on another two-run hit by Durand, this time a double. It was followed with a sac fly by Hunter Parker, scoring Rashad Benton.
Now leading 5-0 after three innings, the Eagles perhaps relaxed a bit too much, as the Alcovy bats came to life. Receiving three straight singles from Jimmy Ingram, Cole Loggins and sophomore starting pitcher Beau Thomas, the Tigers soon found themselves with the bases loaded and their rally caps on full display.
Ellis Fanning smacked a two-run double to make it 5-2. Jackson followed with a clutch two-run double of his own, bringing the game to within one run heading into the fifth inning.
Continuing to have a solid outing while never letting the scoreboard affect his game, Thomas pitched one more scoreless inning before Mobley handed the reigns to Jackson in search of a win. Hoping Jackson could hold off the Eagles long enough for his team to gather a couple more runs was a prayer answered by Alcovy in the top of the seventh.
In their last chance at a come-from-behind win, the Tigers had runners on second and third after Eastside's Daniel Digby plunked consecutive batters, receiving a balk from the umpire along the way. With just two outs remaining, Alcovy received an early Christmas gift after a ground ball to shortstop Jake Casteel was thrown to first base instead of home, allowing the Tigers to tie the game, 5-5.
After holding the Eagles scoreles and with the momentum change heading into the eighth inning, the Tigers continued to rally as they had runners on first and second after a walk and an error by Sam Johnson. Fitting to the way he played the game, it was Thomas who delivered what turned out to be the game-winning hit that scored two runs.
"It feels fantastic," said Fanning, who contributed to the win with an eighth-inning RBI single. "(It) gives us a lot of confidence heading into region play. We knew we were a lot better then we have been playing."