COVINGTON, Ga. — On Friday afternoon, Eastside traveled to Athens looking to right the ship after starting its Region 8-AAAAA slate with back-to-back losses to Greenbrier.
The Eagles eked out a 5-4 victory over Clarke Central, but the product was far from pretty. They allowed the Gladiators to scatter six hits and were forced to plate a pair of runs in the seventh to escape with a narrow road win. The final result with a tally in the right column, but head coach Brandon Crumbley was left wanting more.
In Monday evening’s rematch at the Eagle’s nest, Crumbley had his wish granted.
Eastside (12-5, 2-2) wasted no time putting away Clarke Central the second time around as the Eagles rode senior left-hander Cade Mitchell’s arm and an offensive awakening to an 11-1 victory in five innings.
“It’s good to bounce back and get another win,” Crumbley said. “The bats are slowly but surely starting to come back to life after a little cold spell there. It’s survive and advance. I know it’s a March Madness pun there, but that’s where it’s at.”
Despite nursing an ailing knee, Mitchell brought the tenacity to the mound that’s come to be expected of him. He punched out 11 batters and allowed just one hit while working his way through four scoreless frames.
Mitchell was given plenty of run support, as the Eagles plated a run in the first inning before piling on six in the second and four in the third.
Senior Ethan Booth led the way at the plate with a 2-for-2 outing and 3 RBI. The Eagles also recieved one-hit contributions from sophomore Hunter Denny, juniors Slade Holloway and Kyle Shivers, and seniors Mason Pool, Sambo Button and Tanner Middlebrooks.
Eastside is slated to return to the diamond Tuesday for a doubleheader on the road against another region adversary in Johnson. Despite dropping to 0-2 to begin region play, a sweep of the Knights would put the Eagles two games over .500 in the league.
"The key right now, like I said, is just to survive and advance," Crumbley said. "Keep winning, go to the next series and keep grinding."