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Eagles split doubleheader
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Eastside baseball suffered its first loss of the season to Jackson County Saturday, before picking up revenge in the nightcap of the doubleheader by beating Jefferson.
In the first game, Jackson County (10-2) faced Eastside’s Ty Ranor, who shut out the Panthers through the first two innings.
Jackson County then pushed a run across in the third after a walk and an error put runners on base for their clean-up hitter to drive in a run to take a 1-0 lead.
Eastside answered in the top of the fourth by scratching out a couple of runs after a pair of walks put men on base as Hank Steele drove in the first run followed by Hunter Ballard reaching on a single to collect the RBI for the second run.

With Gray Ritchey assuming the pitching chores in the fourth inning, again the pitching was effective as both teams were kept off the board through the fifth and sixth innings. The Eagles also came up empty in the top of the seventh as they hoped to hold onto their 2-1 lead.

Jackson County opened the frame with a single to right field and then moved the runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt.

The go-ahead run was put on base when he was hit with a pitch and it was time to bring in closer Drew Buckhault to try to preserve the lead. A passed ball allowed both runners to move into scoring position. The tying run scored moments later when the batter grounded out to short. The Panther lineup rolled over to the leadoff batter and he delivered a single to left field to plate the run and give Jackson County the 3-2 win. Other Eagle batters getting hits in the game included Peyton Pallay and Buckhault.

While Eastside was disappointed with the loss, they did not have time to dwell on it as they faced a very good Jefferson team after a short 30-minute break. The Eagles won the coin toss as the home team and Peyton Pallay took the mound for the start.

Pallay walked the first batter, but kept his streak alive as he picked the runner off at first base for the out as he has done in each of his four previous starts.

The next batter singled to left and crossed the dish two batters later on a double to right. In the Eagle half of the first, Pallay doubled but would be left stranded as the offense was unable to put anything together.
Pallay had a three-up/three-down second inning and the Eastside offense quickly went to work with Buckhault drawing a walk and Nick Womack and Steele pressing the Dragons and reaching on errors while driving in a pair of runs.

Senior Chase Chancey also contributed with a single and an RBI to make the score 3-1 after two innings. Jefferson again stumbled in the third and the Eagles got busy loading the bases with their first three batters courtesy of an error, a walk and a single by Buckhault. With the bases loaded and no outs, Eastside wasted an opportunity to score as they left all three base runners stranded as they exited the third inning.

The Dragons plated an unearned run in the fourth inning, but the Eagles responded with a leadoff single by Chancey, a double by Pallay and a homerun by Musashi Briem to give them a 6-2 lead after four innings. With one out in the fifth, Pallay allowed a double and Coach Ayres decided to turn over the pitching duties to Hank Steele who had spent the day at shortstop.

Steele finished the inning, but the Dragons netted another run and closed the gap to 6-3.

A pitching change was also in order for Jefferson and it took their hurler a few batters to settle in as he issued a couple of walks and had an error behind him which helped put another three runs on the board for Eastside.
Dustin Kerbow would make a brief appearance on the mound for the Eagles in the sixth before giving way to Hunter Ballard as the Dragons attempted to claw their way back by scoring two runs in the inning.

Steele singled for the Eagles in the bottom of the inning and stole a base to put himself in scoring position, but was left stranded as the inning ended.

Ballard remained on the mound to close out the game.

Jefferson gave the Eastside faithful reason for concern as Ballard hit the first batsman and then gave up a homerun to the next batter as the Dragons narrowed the gap to 9-7.

Ballard and the Eagle defense rose to the occasion and thwarted the threat to preserve the win for Eastside.
Eastside travels to Danielsville on Wednesday to take on Madison County.