The visiting Eastside Eagles stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Alcovy Tigers 8-4 Wednesday, sweeping the county series for 2012.
Walks proved the Tigers undoing in the Eagles' fourth, before Jake Wright delivered a two-run opposite field home run and Eastside's bats put the game away over the last three innings.
In the top of the fourth inning, two walks and a bunt single loaded the bases with no outs. Before the inning ended, Alcovy yielded three more walks and Eastside had taken a 3-2 lead. The Eagles extended their lead in the fifth, which featured the long ball by the Eagles' starting pitcher, Wright. Though the Tigers threatened a comeback of their own, in the end it was Eastside putting the game away with two runs on three additional hits in the seventh.
Darius Hill started the game for Alcovy. Two walks and a sacrifice bunt gave Eastside an early threat, but Jake Wright's hard liner up the middle was snagged by Hill and an Eagle runner was doubled up, thus ending the inning. In the bottom of the first, Jake Jones hit a 2-run homer to give the Tigers the early 2-0 lead. Both pitchers cruised through the next two innings. Jake Wright, operating on a 40 pitch count maximum, was sharp with the homerun by Jones the only blemish on his night. In just three and one third innings Wright amassed seven strikeouts, while yielding only one walk and one hit.
Coach Brad Weir explained, "Jake has had some arm problems in the past so we closely monitored his pitch count.
He had hit 40 by the end of the third, but I wanted him to go out to face Bowen Braswell before we pulled him out."
In the Eagle half of the fourth inning, Hill and relief pitcher Jake Jones yielded five walks and a bunt single that produced the three runs for Eastside giving them the 3-2 lead. Hill yielded only one hit, the bunt single, along with five walks before coming out in the fourth with the bases loaded.
After Eastside extended the lead to 6-2, Alcovy loaded the bases in the bottom of the fifth inning on two walks and a bunt single with no outs. However, reliever Joey Mitchell who had effectively finished out the fourth inning, induced a bouncer back to the mound, which the Eagles crisply turned into a 1-2-3 double play. After another walk loaded the bases, Matt Hitchcock came on in relief. Hitchcock ended the threat with a 3-2 curveball on the low, outside corner of the plate that was grounded weakly to first for the third out.
The Tigers did make things interesting again. Austin Fuller led off the bottom of the sixth with a single that was immediately followed with another single. Both runners ended up scoring to pull Alcovy within two runs. After Eastside answered with two runs in the top of the seventh, the Tigers drew two walks in the bottom of the seventh. However, the game fittingly ended on a grounder to third baseman,
Keith Buckhault had earlier in the game made two sparkling plays that saved at least one run.
Coach Weir pointed out the Eagle solid defensive play on the night, led by Buckhault and first baseman Musashi Briem. The Eagles committed only one error in the game. The Eagles moved to 2-0 on the season, while Alcovy dropped to 1-1. Alcovy hosts Newton on Friday and Eastside heads to Valdosta for a weekend tournament.