Eastside suffered its first Region 8AAAA defeat of the season Friday night when it traveled to Sugar Hill for an 8-2 loss to the Lanier Longhorns.
After beating Lanier (14-6, 7-3) at home Wednesday, the Eagles (17-3, 9-1) were unable to complete the sweep, falling behind 8-1 in the fourth inning.
The Longhorns, held to just two hits on Wednesday, came out prepared to hit on Friday as they touched-up Eastside’s senior pitcher Daniel Garrett for three hits in just the first inning. The three singles and a walk in that first inning gave Lanier a 2-0 lead at the close of the inning.
The Eagles went down in order in the top half of the second inning as the Longhorns continued to put runners on base with another pair of hits in the home half. The threat was ended with a 6-4-3 double play turned by Hank Steele, Evan House and Peyton Pallay.
Eastside cut the lead in half in the third when House reached on a single followed by Walker’s second hit of the evening to move him into scoring position. House then scored on a groundout.
The Eagles kept the Longhorns off the scoreboard in the bottom of the inning, but they were unable to improve their lot as they went down 1-2-3 in the top of fourth.
The wheels fell off for Eastside in the bottom of the fourth with Garrett allowing a leadoff single, followed by a pair of quick outs and then another pair of singles and a walk. Drew Buckhault came in on a pitching change, walking two Longhorns before handing the ball to Gray Ritchey. Ritchey appeared poised to stop the bleeding and get out of the inning when an Eastside error allowed the runner to reach base as two more runs scored. The big inning by the Longhorns plated six runs to give them an 8-1 lead.
The Eagles tried to claw their way back in the fifth with Hank Steele reaching on a single followed by Walker’s third hit of the night and Pallay reaching on a Longhorn error. With the bases now loaded and Eagle power hitter Musashi Briem at the plate, Eastside was looking for a big inning themselves, but the opportunity never presented itself as Briem was hit by a pitch and awarded his base, plating Steele in the process. The half-inning came to a close on a strikeout with three Eagles stranded on base.
The 8-2 Longhorn lead held through the remainder of the game as the standings in Region 8-AAAA now tightened. Daniel Garrett took the loss for the Eagles giving up nine hits while walking two and striking out three batters. In relief, Ritchey allowed only one hit and one walk while recording three strikeouts.
The Eagles have three Region games on the schedule this week starting with a Monday/Wednesday series against the second-place Stephens County Indians (14-3, 9-1). The home game on Wednesday will be “Youth Baseball Night” at Eagle Field with little leaguers granted free admission, dressed in uniform, and invited to participate in a pre-game parade, join the Eagles on the field for the national anthem, win a chance to throw out the first pitch and run the bases after the game.
For additional information on Youth Baseball Night, contact Miles Steele at 770-329-1988 or contact email@example.com.