East­side drops 3 to Luella ahead of break

The Covington News - - SPORTS - STAFF RE­PORT sports@cov­news.com

It won’t be spring break any­more, but the East­side Ea­gles are get­ting a week’s worth of prac­tice time and rest from games at just the right time.

Af­ter bat­tling through weather de­lays and post­pone­ments be­cause of last week’s bout with se­vere weather, the Ea­gles en­tered into a three-game se­ries with a tal­ented Luella squad, and ended up drop­ping all three games — the lat­est loss be­ing a 12-5 set­back to the Lions this past Fri­day.

In that game, it was Josh Sims get­ting the start and East­side push­ing out fast to a 3-0 lead that Sims and com­pany were able to sus­tain un­til the sixth in­ning when Luella tied things at three.

Cole Green would come in for re­lief, and then the flood­gates opened for Luella as the Lions scored eight runs in the in­ning to build an in­sur­mount­able lead.

It was the first time coach Bruce Evans’ bunch dropped three straight all sea­son.

Key re­gion se­ries starts with dou­ble­header

The Ea­gles be­gan the three­game stint against Luella with a dou­ble­header at Luella last Tues­day evening. the Game one turned out to be a bat­tle of two hard­nosed teams vy­ing for re­gion po­si­tion­ing in a pair of grind-it-out ball games.

The Lions came out swing­ing and cap­tured the lead in the first in­ning by scor­ing three runs off of three hits. It wasn’t un­til the third in­ning that East­side would an­swer, but when it did, it was Josh Sims and Cole Green gen­er­at­ing the of­fense at the plate with hits that drove home runs.

Ri­ley Ralston got the nod to start the game for the Ea­gles on the mound, but had to leave with sore­ness in his right el­bow af­ter just two in­nings of work wherein he threw 38 pitches with 22 of those be­ing strikes.

Erik Shirley came in as a re­liever and threw three shut-out in­nings for the Ea­gles up un­til the fifth. The Lions opened the flood gates in the fifth, scor­ing two runs off hits by Matt Collins and Jor­dan Jack­son. Shirley threw 49 pitches over three in­nings with 31 strikes. Michael Hipps then en­tered the game in the sixth in­ning as the closer for the Ea­gles.

Hipps gave up two runs dur­ing his in­ning of work which put com­fort­able dis­tance be­tween the two squads. Both teams hit well, with the Lions con­nect­ing for 10 hits and the Ea­gles eight. Colby Shivers, Sims and Austin Hol­loway each col­lected mul­ti­ple hits, fol­lowed by Caleb Sauls with one. How­ever, the Ea­gles stranded seven base run­ners, which ul­ti­mately proved to be the de­cid­ing fac­tor in the 7-2 loss.

Af­ter drop­ping game one, East­side tried to re­fo­cus and come out to a fast start in the rub­ber match. In the first in­ning Colby Shivers un­loaded on the Lions, driv­ing in two runs.

A pitcher’s duel then en­sued with Ryan Shirley tak­ing the mound for the Ea­gles and dom­i­nat­ing for the next three in­nings, hold­ing the Luella score­lesso. It was not un­til the fifth in­ning that the Lions even­tu­ally tied the game at 2, when Jack­son hit a sac­ri­fice fly off of Shirley.

In the sec­ond game, the Ea­gles of­fense was led by Cole Green, who went 2-for-3 at the plate with a triple, fol­lowed by Caleb Sauls and Jack­son Watts with one base hit each. How­ever, in game two the Ea­gles were plagued by four field­ing er­rors and strug­gled to ad­vance base run­ners once in scor­ing po­si­tion.

Cole Green en­tered the game in the 7th in­ning as a re­liever for Shirley and, thanks to sev­eral er­rors, quickly found him­self in a bases loaded jam. Green buried a break­ing ball in the dirt that some­how man­aged to sneak past Hol­loway at catcher, al­low­ing the Lions’ base run­ner to ad­vance home. The score was enough to hand East­side a 3-2 loss, drop­ping its record to 16-7 over­all and 9-6 in Re­gion 4-AAAA.

Af­ter a bye week, East­side will hit the field again to take on Salem in a three-game re­gion se­ries. As it stands, East­side still holds down the third place spot in the re­gion.

File photos | The Cov­ing­ton News

Above: Ea­gles se­nior Josh Sims pitched a solid start for East­side in its re­gion se­ries against Luella last week. Left: Austin Hol­loway helped East­side gen­er­ate some of­fense in spurts dur­ing the Ea­gles’ three-game stand against Luella last week.

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