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Seventh-inning comeback keeps Eastside perfect in region

LOGANVILLE -- Three runs in the top of the seventh inning turned Eastside's fate around as the Eagles won five straight Region 8-AAAA games with a 9-7 win over Walnut Grove on Wednesday.

"This team is not going to lie down when we're behind. We're going to play hard from first pitch to last. If we go down we're going to go down giving it our best effort," Eastside head coach Jon Ayres said. "I really have to say I'm extremely proud of everybody."

With pinch runner Jacob Wilder on second base after taking Drew Buckhault's place, the Eagles (13-1, 5-0) tied the game on a Hunter Ballard hit. Ballard put Eastside in the lead on a Nick Womack double to make it 8-7 with two outs. Womack took advantage of a Warrior (6-9, 3-2) error to give Eastside a two-run advantage.

After going hitless through the first two innings, the Eagles started swinging the bat and connecting as they had 11 hits as a team. Womack led the Eagles at the plate going 3-for-4 with two doubles followed by Buckhault and Peyton Pallay who were 2-for-4.

"I think we started a little flat offensively and that woke us up and we started swinging the bat," Ayres said. "We realized we weren't going to walk our way to a victory. We had to hit the ball to win. We started swinging and good things started happening for us."

After a rough start on the mound where he gave up four hits including a three-run homer to put Walnut Grove up 5-0 in the first two innings, Daniel Garrett buckled down to strike out the batter for the final out. Garrett finished the game with seven strikeouts while giving up eight hits, three walks and hitting one batsman.

"He gave up runs, including that home run. But he stuck it out and pitched a great game," Ayres said. "As a senior, he led us to victory by doing what he had to do on the mound from that point on. You have to have a short memory sometimes as a baseball player and he did."

Trailing 5-0 after the second inning, the Eagles got on the scoreboard in the top of the third on a Pallay single with the second runner coming in on a fielding error. Eastside made it 5-3 when Pallay crossed the plate as a result of a balk by the Warriors pitcher.

Eastside took the lead in the fifth inning with Cody Walker scoring on a Musashi Briem single to make it 5-4 before a two-run single by Buckhault put the Eagles in the lead.

Unfortunately, their lead did not last long as Walnut Grove came back in the home half of the inning to score twice.