MADISON, Ga. — Forget about the fact that Eastside’s a Class AAAA school and Morgan County is one classification below. The Eagles’ 6-5 squeaker of a win Wednesday at Morgan County is probably the team’s best win of the young season.
The Eagles (3-0) handed a stout Bulldogs squad its first loss of the season Morgan behind strong early pitching from Jackson Feeney, and a fast start at the plate.
Feeney started on the mound for the Eagles and seemed to have the Bulldogs completely baffled at the plate. He pitched four innings of one-run baseball, but his ability to keep hitters from even making contact was what truly stood out.
Of the 12 outs that Feeney earned during his time on the mound, eight came by way of strikeout. Feeney said that staying in the zone all night long and his ability to hit his spots ultimately led to his strong performance.
“I just didn’t lose my groove,” Feeney said. “After one pitch, just get back on the mound, after a strikeout, I just got the ball back and went as fast as I could. My curveball was working really great, and the outside corner was probably my pitch. I was just living on the outside and low.”
Eastside head coach Brandon Crumbley was more than impressed with Feeney’s mound mastery.
“Hats off to Jackson Feeney,” Crumbley said. “He absolutely dominated tonight. I mean, he didn’t give up a hit until the fourth inning when he gave up one run. He’s fast. He’s electric. He just put it around the plate and pitched his tail off. I’m proud of him.”
Feeney got some early run support to help give him a comfortable cushion to pitch from, during his time on the bump. The Eagles put up three runs in the first and three more in the third to give them an early six-run lead, and they needed every one of those runs to pull off the victory.
The big hit of the night came from John Robert McGowan during his very first at bat. McGowan hit a three-run home run to center field that caught Crumbley by surprise and gave the Eagles a much-needed early boost.
“I was sitting there telling Noah to tag and Noah’s like, ‘that ball is gone,’ and I’m like yeah, you’re right,” said Crumbley. “That’s a big momentum swing. But like I told the guys we got to stay focused and not get too high.”
Although the Eagles controlled the first four innings of the game, the Bulldogs fought until the end bringing the game within one in the final frame. Jackson was helped by the Eastside bullpen, namely Brayden Downs who came in to relieve him, and McGowan who closed the game out.
Crumbley knows how huge a win against a quality team like Morgan County is — particularly on the road — stating this type of victory was something that could pay off for his team later on down the road.
“We needed this,” Crumbley said. “A close game early in the year like this is great because this was the type of atmosphere we’re going to have in May. I’m kind of happy it got close there, a little bit, because we needed to see how we handled a little adversity, and I’m glad we came out on top.”
Eastside will host Alcovy and Newton Saturday in Newton Cup action as all three county schools play against each other for county supremacy.