The Eastside Eagles hit the road Friday and traveled to Gainesville to face the Chestatee War Eagles in a Region-8AAAA match-up.
Eastside came away with a 7-1 victory, remaining perfect in region play at 3-0, but it waited until the very end of the game to make its move.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard early with lead-off man Austin Holloway reaching after being hit by a pitch, and followed with a sac-bunt for a hit by Hunter Ballard.
A Chestatee throwing error to first base allowed Holloway to score and Ballard legged it all the way to third on the miscue.
In the bottom of the first, with a 1-0 lead, sophomore Gray Ritchey took the mound for Eastside and promptly retired the top of the War Eagle lineup in order. The Chestatee pitcher did the same to the bottom of the Eastside lineup in the second inning and the Eagles were right back in the field on defense.
A fielding error allowed Chestatee to put a man on base to start off the inning. With the next batter blasting a double off the fence, the War Eagles looked like they were in business with runners on second and third with nobody out. A fielder’s choice scored an unearned run, tying the game, but Ritchey registered a pair of strikeouts to end the threat and close the inning.
Innings three through six were rather uneventful, with the exception of a Jared Jones single in the fifth and a Peyton Pallay single in the sixth, as neither team managed to mount much offense.
Eastside broke the game open in the seventh inning with Hank Steele reaching on a single, moving to second on a passed ball and then breaking the tie as he took third on a sac-bunt and continued to the plate after a throwing error on the play.
Chestatee soon found themselves with the bases loaded after a walk and a hit batsman. Senior Drew Buckhault ripped a single up the middle and collected two RBIs in the process, increasing the lead to 4-1.
Another walk re-loaded the bases for Pallay and he took advantage of the situation by belting a base clearing double.
With the Eastside half of the inning coming to a close with the Eagles now up 7-1, Ritchey again took the mound to close out the game. Ritchey put the exclamation point on the game by striking out the side to end the game. Ritchey’s complete game performance added eight strikeouts to his stats with only a pair of hits and a pair of walks.
Eastside and Chestatee will face each other again on Monday as the Eagles will host the second game of the series.