Friday, December 1, 2023

Baseball Eagles advance to and fall in Regional final

May 17 vs. Massac County – Regional Semi-Final
The Eagles traveled to Harrisburg to face the Massac County Patriots in the 2A Regional semi-final last Thursday.

The Eagles struck the first blow in the 1st inning. Blake Crain led off with a single and advanced to second base on a groundout. He scored one out later on Clayton Wrights RBI single. The Eagles held the 1-0 lead until the Patriots scored twice in the bottom of the 3rd inning to take the lead. The Eagles came back to tie the game in the top of the 5th inning. With one out Kyle Loyd reached second base on a ball that was misplayed by the Patriot rightfielder. Loyd was balked to third base and scored on Bryan Wests RBI single.

The game was tied 2-2 in the top of the 7th inning. Christian Stafford smoked a double in the right center field gap. Dallas Bent smashed an RBI double deep into the left field corner to drive in Stafford. The Eagles went on to load the bases with no one out but were unable to add any insurance runs. The Patriots wouldnt go down without a fight. The leadoff hitter singled sharply to center to open the bottom of the frame. A force play brought about the first out. A lazy fly ball to center made out number two, and a three pitch strikeout sealed the deal for the Eagles in an exciting 3-2 victory. Loyd worked the first three innings on the mound allowing just two hits and a costly home-run.

Dylan Graves worked the final four innings of scoreless relief to earn the win. Graves only allowed three hits and no walks while striking out five.

May 19 vs. Harrisburg – Regional Final
The Eagles returned to a regional championship game for the first time in six seasons as they faced off against the perennial 2A powerhouse Harrisburg Bulldogs at Harrisburg on Saturday.

The Bulldogs proved to be too much for the Eagles in this contest. The Eagles only managed three hits in the game, singles by Christian Stafford and Bryan West, and a double from Dylan Graves. Graves worked the first four innings on the mound for the Eagles. He gave up six runs on six hits, he walked two and struck out three before giving way to the Eagle bullpen. Austin Krelo gave up two runs on three hits in an inning of work and Blake Crain worked a scoreless 6th inning in the 8-0 Harrisburg victory. The Eagles finished the season with a 14-15 mark, their highest win total since 2008.

The final season statistics for the Eagles show much promise for the future. They were lead in batting average by senior, Clayton Wright (.391). He was followed by sophomore, Dylan Graves (.387) and sophomore, Blake Crain (.381). Crain (37) led the team in hits, followed by Wright (36) and Graves (36). Crain led the team in runs (32). Wright led the team in RBI (26). Graves had the most victories (6) on the mound. Senior, Kyle Loyd (1.70) had the best E.R.A. on the squad and hurled thirty three innings.

We graduated five seniors from this years squad that will be sorely missed. The players were all honored at the spring athletic banquet on Tuesday night. Senior, Clayton Wright earned All Black Diamond Conference first team honors. Wright was also selected to play in the SIBCA All-Star Game in June at Abe Martin Field in Carbondale. Sophomore, Dylan Graves earned All Black Diamond Conference second team honors for the second year in a row.

I would like to thank all of the faithful readers who stumble through this column every week, and a special thanks to all the sponsors for the Eagle Dugout Club, and more thanks to the parents and fans who come out to the ballpark and support our baseball yeam.

See you next spring!