With temperatures starting at 42 degrees and dipping down to 36 with a few snow flurries, Eastside’s bats didn’t cool off in an 8-4 victory in Monroe Area Monday.
The Eagles (12-1, 4-0) went down in 1-2-3 to open the game, but so did the Hurricanes (3-8, 0-4) as Gray Ritchey and the Eastside defense worked a flawless half-inning.
Eastside tallied the game’s first run in the top of the second inning as Hunter Ballard drove in Daniel Garrett, who walked earlier in the inning. Nick Womack reached on a single but was left stranded as the inning came to a close. Monroe Area kept pace by scoring a run of its own to tie it at 1-1 in the bottom half of the second.
The Eagles’ bats began to generate some heat in the third inning as Musashi Briem blasted a two-run home run to put Eastside back in front. A trio of walks mixed in with a few errant pitches and another base hit by Ballard led to three more runs followed by a sac-fly from Peyton Pallay to plate the sixth run of the inning as the Eagles took a commanding 7-1 lead.
With Ritchey still on the mound, Eastside kept Monroe Area off balance and off the scoreboard through the third and fourth innings. The Eagles struggled in the fourth and fifth innings sending only the minimum to the plate unable to get anything going. A leadoff double in the fifth for the Hurricanes would end up scoring to make it a 7-2 contest after five.
Cody Walker started the sixth inning by reaching on an error and soon crossed home plate, courtesy of a double off the bat of Briem to score the insurance run. In the bottom of the inning, Ritchey would give way to Ty Raynor on the mound. Ritchey’s numbers on the night for his five innings of work were two hits and three strikeouts while only walking two.
After giving up a leadoff single and a walk, Raynor settled in and pitched well to get out of the inning, but not before a run scored for the Hurricanes making it 8-3 going into the frigid seventh inning.
The Eagles put a man on base with a Womack single and then sacrificed him to second, only to again leave him stranded. Raynor went to work to close out the game, but cold fingers contributed to a leadoff walk and a single to give the Hurricanes some last inning hope. Raynor again settled in and got a couple of quick outs. With two outs, a single to left would push another run across for Monroe Area, but the game would come to an end with Raynor striking out the final batter to preserve the 8-4 victory for the Eagles. Raynor allowed three hits while walking two and striking out two during his two innings of work.
Eastside faced Region 8A-AAAA opponent Walnut Grove on the road in a game which finished after press time Wednesday and then at home on Friday.