COVINGTON, Ga. — Woodward Academy is now the only undefeated team in Region 4-AAAA after beating Eastside 10-6 on Tuesday.
Eastside (16-2, 11-1) and Woodward (12-3, 9-0) were battling neck and neck until the fifth inning when the visiting War Eagles scored six runs to jump out to a 10-4 lead.
Woodward had five hits, including three doubles, and a walk in the inning, sending 10 batters to the plate. The performance left Eastside coach Brandon Crumbley impressed with the War Eagles’ squad.
"I think the key factor was, as I told (players), that they got big hits with runners in scoring position,” Crumbley said. “We had a hard time getting that third strike and getting them out. That’s a good team.”
Woodward took command of the game from the beginning, taking a quick 3-0 lead after the first inning. But Eastside came back in the third to take a 4-3 advantage before Woodward tied the game in the fourth.
“We didn’t make any mistakes. The biggest thing is that we left balls over the plate and they just hit them,” said Crumbley. “They’re a good hitting team. But on the flip side of that is that we hit some balls good too.”
Despite giving up 14 hits, the Eastside defense made Woodward earn every run it scored. The Eagles turned two double plays, and catcher Tanner Feeney tagged out two runners at the plate and threw out another three while trying to steal a base.
“Defensively, behind the plate he probably had one of the best games,” Crumbley said of Feeney. “That’s been our M.O. all year. We’re going to play good defense and we’re going make guys just beat us. (Tuesday) night they just beat us. There’s no way around it.”
Despite being down by six runs with two innings left to play, Eastside did not give up.
A two-run single by Cole Green cut into Woodward’s lead, but the Eagles could not come up with the other four runs to complete the rally in the seventh.
Ryan Shirley, Noah Cook and Colby Shivers paced the Eagles at the plate with two hits each. Cook and Shivers joined Green with an extra-base hit.
Even though Eastside suffered its first region loss following a 16-game win streak, it still has a chance to get back in contention for a region championship as the Eagles will travel to Woodward Academy on Wednesday before finishing the series at home on Thursday.
“We still have a chance to take care of business and win this thing,” said Crumbley. “That’s the great thing about baseball. You get to play the next day. You could have the worst game of your life then show up and have the best game of your life.
“I think it’s a big thing that we play Wednesday because we don’t have a whole day to hear about it and talk about it. I told them that game is behind us, so we’re going to move over and we’re not going to talk about it. We have to go play.”