Eastside (12-5. 8-3 Region 4-AAAA) ace, Gray Ritchey reminded Eagles’ fans how talented he was in a 6-1 victory over Walnut Grove that forced the two teams into a tie for second place in the sub region, setting up a pivotal series finale tomorrow at Walnut Grove.
Ritchey, throwing a complete game, allowed just three scattered hits, one unearned run and threw seven strikeouts. He got a lot of help from his offense, led by Eagles third basemen Nick Womack, who finished 1-2 and an HBP with three RBI and one run.
Jared Jones (1-2, two BB, run) started of the first inning with a shot just above the third baseman and was moved to second on a FC from Josh Sims (2-4, run). Austin Holloway (2-4, run) blasted a line drive over second to put runners at the corners. Womack lifted one deep to right and scores Jones on a sacrifice RBI, giving the Eagles a 1-0 lead headed into the second.
The second inning was dry for both teams, but in the third they both managed to put at least one run on the board.
With runners at the corners and two outs, the Eagles were one bad play from getting out of the inning and holding Walnut Grove scoreless. However, an errant throw to third turned into a passed ball and a run for the Warriors. Eastside managed to respond and put up three runs in the bottom of the third, two coming off a Womack double down the third baseline that scored Holloway and Jones. Then Chase Raines hit a single to deep left to score Holloway and give the Eagles a 4-1 lead.
In the fifth inning the Eagles extended their lead to 6-1 with another RBI single from Raines and a sacrifice RBI from Jake Jones.
The Warriors were threatening to score at the top of the seventh with runners at the corners, but Ritchey dealt like he had been all game and struck out the final batter as the crowd stood on their feet cheering him on.
Eastside could lock up second with a win against the Warriors tomorrow on the road at 5:55 p.m.
Check out the Covington News Digital Edition Friday for our exclusive interview with Ritchey and Eatsside head coach Bruce Evans.