The East Jackson baseball team picked up its first win of the 2013 season last Friday, defeating Lumpkin County 7-3 at home.
Robert McKay pitched a complete game (seven innings) to earn the win, racking up seven strikeouts and allowing only six hits and three earned runs.
Several Eagles performed at the plate including Austin Johnson, who posted three RBIs, including a two-run homer.
“We finally did what we were supposed to do – took a great pitching performance, minimized the mistakes in the field and found a few different ways to get some runs on the board,” said Eagle coach Matt Pruitt. “We’ve been playing better ball most of the last week – with the exception being Habersham – and building a little momentum, and we finally put it together against Lumpkin. Now we need to keep moving forward next week. We’ve got two more games before we start a tough region schedule and we need to use those chances to keep getting better.”
Josh Valles was one-for-three with an RBI and Alex Martin was one-for-three with a single and a run scored. Josh Hansard had a double and scored twice.
The diamond Eagles fell 6-4 to Clarke Central last Thursday.
The Eagles brought the tying run to the plate in the bottom of the seventh inning, but fell short, as they were unable to bring the runners home.
“I was proud that we showed some life,” Pruitt said. “We scratched and clawed until the end, and that was a positive. But I told the guys that there’s nothing wrong with believing you can win it right from the start instead of waiting until the sixth or seventh inning. It’s okay to jump on out there and play with a lead.”
Pruitt praised sophomore Eagle pitcher Jared Richards for “playing well in only his second start.”
Richards pitched six innings, had nine strikeouts, no walks and allowed seven hits and five earned runs.
“We were excited by what Richards did out there,” added Pruitt. “He went on the road and pitched very well, even better than the stats show, really. We were looking for him to break out and we›re hoping that was the game that helps him do it. He›s got the ability he needs to win at the varsity level and we›ll need him to be an important part of what we do moving forward."
Brandon Brown was two-for-three with a walk and a run scored. Freshman catcher Ty Smith was two-for-three with a double.
Last Wednesday, the Eagles were defeated 12-2 by Habersham Central.
Defensive miscues led to 11 unearned Raider runs.
“We wasted chances to score with baserunning mistakes and failure to get key hits,” said Pruitt. “We made a couple of mistakes, and those snowballed into a bunch of mistakes and a bunch of runs. We›ve got to do a better job backing up the guy on the mound and getting runners across when we have a chance."
Monday, the Eagles will begin region 8-AAA play when they host the Morgan County Bulldogs at 5:55 p.m.