The Eastside varsity baseball squad hosted the Alcovy Tigers Saturday, looking for a victory to redeem itself from a loss to the Tigers back from a year ago.
Gray Ritchey helped secure the redemption for himself and his team with a strong outing on the mound, giving up only one hit throughout five innings of work in a 5-0 shutout victory.
“This was a good bounce-back win for our guys” Eastside coach Jon Ayres said. “I was very pleased with the performance of our pitchers today.”
The first three innings appeared to be a stalemate with neither team mounting much of an offense. Freshman Austin Holloway registered the first hit for the Eagles, leading off the first inning, but the next hit for Eastside did not come until Holloway’s second appearance at the plate in the third frame.
Meanwhile, the Tigers also struggled at the dish, with their only hit of the game coming from freshman Brock Carter in the second inning.
The Eagles finally broke through in the fourth, taking a 3-0 lead after Alcovy’s starting pitcher Hunter Phillips struggled to find the strike zone. Phillips had been effective through the first three innings, but found himself in a bases loaded situation after a trio of walks.
Jared Jones collected an RBI on a fielder’s choice groundout, Holloway knocked in another run on his third single of the day and a third run was forced in on a walk to Drew Buckhault. Phillips finished his day on the mound with four innings of work, allowing three earned runs on three hits with three strikeouts and six walks.
Ritchey ran into a little trouble of his own in the fifth inning after he also loaded the bases on three straight walks with only one out. Ritchey worked through the situation and got out of the inning with a strikeout and a groundout, maintaining the shutout. Ritchey exited after five innings, recording six strikeouts, issuing three walks and only allowing one hit.
Mark Mostek assumed the pitching duties for the Tigers in the fifth inning. The Eagles managed to tack on an insurance run as Chase Raines singled and then was plated on an RBI-single off the bat of Peyton Pallay.
Senior Dustin Kerbow came on in relief of Ritchey to pitch the fifth inning, but after a prior pair of strong appearances, Kerbow walked the first two batters he faced and was lifted from the game. Hank Steele then came in to take the hill and recorded three outs while throwing only two pitches as the Eagle defense turned a 4-6-3 double play behind him on the first pitch. After the double play, a high-bouncer back to Steele was tossed to first to get out of the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth inning Steele reached base on a single to shallow center field and was driven in on the strength of a single from Raines (2-for-3 on the day) making the score now 5-0. Steele came back in to close out the game by retiring the next three batters in order to secure the win for Eastside.