After two exciting victories on Wednesday, the Eastside Eagles are headed to the AAAA Elite Eight for the first time in school history.
“It feels pretty good, especially when nobody gave us a chance to do that,” said head coach Bruce Evans. “That’s the good part of it. Everybody thought we were going to lose the first series to Cairo, then after that, they said Madison would definitely sweep us. Anytime you exceed others’ expectations it makes you feel good.”
No. 3 Eastside faced No. 4 Madison County in the second round of the GHSA state baseball playoffs and took home the two-game sweep of the Red Raiders.
The Eagles cruised to a 4-2 victory in Game One, but it was Game Two that had everyone on the edge of their seats.
The Eagles fell 3-0 to Madison County through six innings, until a 4-run rally put the Eagles ahead in the bottom of the sixth. The Red Raiders never scored again, giving the Eagles the victory and the sweep.
“They don’t ever quit,” said Evans referring to his team’s late-game rally. “They keep fighting, and once they get a break, they take advantage of it. A big key was that our pitching was really good to hold them to where they were so that we had a chance.”
Senior Gray Ritchey pitched Wednesday’s series, and Evans praised his contribution to the team.
“Gray Ritchey has been an outstanding player and part of our success throughout both of these series,” said Evans. “He just comes in and shuts the door. You give him the lead and give him the ball, he can pretty much put it in the bank.”
Eastside will face St. Pius X on Tuesday in the next round of the state playoffs in a double-header. Game One is set to begin at 1 p.m.