PLAYING in what was likely its last home game of the year, East Jackson treated the Eagle faithful to a season-high 12 runs Monday in a 12-6 victory over East Hall in the region consolation rounds.
East Jackson faces Banks County today (Wednesday) on the road at 5 p.m.
“It was just a good day at the ball park,” East Jackson coach Matt Pruitt said of the win.
Unless another Region 8-AA school agrees to play the Eagles during the less formally structured region consolation rounds, East Jackson’s home slate is over. But the Eagles left with some good memories.
East Jackson (3-17) jumped on the Vikings (7-14) with five runs in the first inning and never looked back. The Eagles added a run in the second inning, three in the third and three more in the fifth to notch their third win of the year and break an 11-game slide.
“It was great,” Pruitt said. “The guys were really excited. It’s going to be the last home game of the year barring something extraordinary happening.”
East Jackson got offensive contributions from several players.
Austin Johnson — who is “on fire” Pruitt said — collected a single and two doubles and reached base in four out of five times. Caleb Hardy reached base in four of five plate appearances as well, including a single and two walks. Josh Valles reached in all four of his plate appearances with a single and three walks. Trey Mimes was 1-for-3 with a walk in his first non-designated hitter start of the year. Jake Grindle also reached base on all four of his plate appearances, including a hit and two walks. Brandon Brown went 2-for-4 with two doubles.
“We did a better job of putting the ball in play,” Pruitt said. “We had a lot of guys hit the ball and reach base.”
Pruitt noted a difference between this game and some of the Eagles’ others this spring.
“East Hall helped us out a little bit with some errors, but we capitalized on it,” Pruitt said.
Robert McKay picked up the win for East Jackson, throwing seven innings, giving up six earned runs, seven hits and three walks while striking out two. East Hall scored three runs in the first inning, two in the fourth and one in the seventh.
“After giving up three in the first inning, he settled down and pitched pretty good,” Pruitt said.
East Jackson was coming off a 9-5 loss to Dawson County on Friday, surrendering eight runs in the fifth inning.
The Tigers’ big inning was largely due to three East Jackson errors and three walks.
Dawson added four hits to the mix in the fifth, but none of the runs were earned.
Hardy started and took the loss “but pitched very well overall,” Pruitt said.
Hardy struck out five over four and two-thirds innings of work and limited Dawson County to just two hits (one of which was an infield hit) over the first four innings.
Hardy walked three batters, all of which came in the fifth.
Pruitt noted that Hardy should have gotten out of the fifth inning after three or four batters, but that’s when East Jackson committed its defensive miscues.
Grindle came on in relief and gave up one earned run in two and one-third innings. He struck out two and walked one.
Offensively, Valles delivered a two-run single in the third inning, Ethan Lyons provided an RBI double in the fifth, Alex Martin had a sac fly RBI in the fifth and Johnson added an RBI double in the sixth.
East Jackson was supposed to play Rabun County Saturday, but the Wildcats — who lost in the region playoffs — opted out of region consolation games. A road trip to Fannin County this Friday has also been cancelled.
But the Eagles do have one game left with their meeting with Banks County today (Wednesday) and want to get the most out of it.
“We’re looking to build some momentum,” Pruitt said.