COVINGTON, Ga. — Eastside’s Cole Green put an end to what began as a close game with a walk-off grand slam to give the Eagles a 12-1, six-inning Region 4-AAAA win over Luella on Wednesday.
Green led the Eagles at the plate going 3-for-4 with a single and a double to go with his home run. It all helped Eastside achieve its 11th straight victory.
“Coming back from the past few games I’ve been struggling, striking out and not seeing the ball well. But Wednesday night I started seeing it,” said Green. “I just have to keep working everyday.”
Eastside (11-1, 6-0) and the Lions (6-7, 3-1) started off slow, as neither team was able to mount an offense. The Eagles took advantage of Luella’s miscues as they had base runners in the first three innings off a pair of errors and a walk.
Luella, on the other hand, went down in order through the first three innings before Riley Ralston gave up a walk to the first batter of the fourth inning. Even though Ralston made a mistake with the walk, it was one of very few. Ralston pitched 5.1 innings, giving up two hits and two walks while striking out six batters.
“He’s a special kid,” Eastside coach Brandon Crumbley said of Ralston. “He’s one of the leaders on this team. He’s just pitching phenomenal right now. He was prefect through three, then we gave up that hit in the fifth and broke up that no hitter. He hit his spots and that’s the name of the game. I tell the guys that’s pitching to let them hit it and let the defense do the work.”
Eastside did not get its offense going until the fifth inning when they had six hits and five walks off Lions pitcher Jacob Yarbrough.
Green and J.R. McGowan, who went 2-for-3 including a double, got back-to-back hits before, following an Aron Cox sacrifice bunt, Tanner Feeney loaded the bases on an intentional walk. With bases loaded and one out, the Eagles scored eight runs while sending 14 batters to the plate.
“Hitting is one of those things that’s contagious and once everybody starts swinging the guys behind catch up,” said Crumbley. “We started slow but this group is never going to get down. They’re resilient in the fact that they just keep grinding it out.”
After giving up a run in the top of the sixth, Green’s homer drove home Noah Cook, Ryan Shirley and Lawson Beshears to end the game without having to play the seventh, giving the Eagles 11 wins in a row.
“We don’t even talk about it,” Crumbley said of their 11-game win streak. “We just come out here every single day and just work and find a way to win. With three-game series in region it’s always nice to win the first one and even better if we take care of business for the second one. That’s what I told the guys. We can’t lose focus on what our goal is and to keep building every day that we come out to the ball park.”
Eastside will face Luella again Friday night at Luella, with first pitch set for 5:55 p.m.