Good pitching and timely hitting gave the Eastside baseball team (10-6, 5-1 Region 8-AAAA) a 6-5 victory against region opponent Madison County (7-8, 0-5 Region 8-AAAA) on Monday night.
Eagles' coach Jon Ayres said that the Eagles unwavering attitude paid off in the one-run win.
“Persistence pays off, and we finally had a pair of back-to-back hits to win the game in the seventh,” Ayres said.
The Red Raiders faced Eastside senior Drew Buckhault, in his seventh start of the season, pitching for the Eagles. Madison County put their lead-off hitter aboard with a single, but left him stranded as Buckhault retired the next three batters in order.
As has been the pattern with Eastside this season, the Eagles struggled to generate any offense early in the game as Madison County pitcher Wyatt Wood did not allow any hits through three innings of work. Meanwhile, the Eagles spotted the Red Raiders a run in each of the second and third innings, surrendering the scores on a pair of errors and a wild pitch, giving Madison County a 2-0 lead after three innings.
Buckhault held up his end of the bargain by only allowing one base runner over his next three innings of work. Buckhault ‘s work on the mound allowed the Eastside offense to chip away at the lead, beginning with a Hank Steele single and a walk to Chase Raines in the fourth inning. Both Steele and Raines crossed the plate and tied the game on a ball that was ripped down the line by freshman Austin Kerbow.
The Eagles took the lead in the sixth inning when Buckhault drew a walk, followed by Steele reaching on a sac-bunt. A Red Raider error and a walk to Kerbow loaded the bases and Peyton Pallay took advantage of the opportunity, picking up a couple of RBIs with a single to right field.
Eastside added another run with Junior Jared Jones collecting the RBI by plating Kerbow, pushing the score to 5-2 going into the seventh inning.
After striking out the first Madison County batter, Buckhault began to labor, giving up a pair of singles with a hit batsman sandwiched between them, giving the Red Raiders hope as they now trailed only 5-3 with two men on base.
Buckhault exited the game after working 6-2/3 innings, giving up only three hits and one walk while striking out six batters. Josh Sims came on in relief and assumed the 2-0 count on the lead-off batter who ended up walking and loading the bases. After striking out the next batter, Sims gave up a single that allowed two runs to score, evening the game, but the Red Raiders trailing runner was thrown out at the plate, ending the inning with the score tied at five apiece.
With the top of the order up for the Eagles in the bottom of the seventh inning, Austin Holloway put himself in scoring position with a single to right field and then took second on a Red Raider miscue. Hunter Ballard took the second pitch delivered to him and drove it to the right field fence for a triple that pushed Holloway across the dish for the 6-5 Eagle victory.
“We got a good performance from Drew Buckhault tonight; he went deep in the game and that helped us conserve some pitching,” Ayres said, “That is extremely important since we have four games this week due to last Friday’s rainout with Lanier.”
The Eagles face Lanier at home on Tuesday, before traveling to Madison County on Wednesday, to complete the season series. Eastside closes out
the week on Friday at home against Walnut Grove.