By: Liana Handler and Dylan Pierce
After a blowout win against P.K. Yonge, the Eastside Rams looked to continue their hot streak against the Oak Hall Eagles. Despite rallying in the sixth, Eastside was unable to maintain its lead in the ninth.
Struggles in the First
From the beginning, Eastside’s Zach Barger struggled with finding the zone. He walked the three batters in the first inning, and while he was eventually able to throw strikes, he could never form a steady rhythm. Similarly, his pitch location allowed Oak Hall to quickly put up runs. Jack Kuzmicki singled into the left field, scoring two.
However, Oak Hall’s struggles gave Eastside enough room to catch their breath and focus on creating momentum. After the Eagles’ Jack Steen doubled, confusion erupted on the basepath. Kuzmicki, who had moved to second after Gavin Jones walked, stopped at third at the direction of his coach. Jones put his head down and ran towards third, unaware of Kuzmicki’s actions. Eastside’s infield reacted quickly. A quick throw to the second baseman forced Jones into a panic. Glancing in each direction, Gavin realized there would be no plausible way for the play to end with him at a bag safely, so he gave up. Yet, it was enough to get the Rams out of the inning.
Climbing Out of Holes
The Rams found themselves down by four runs two separate times in the game. In the bottom of the third, Eastside was down 4-0 and needed some momentum. The Rams struck while the iron was hot, and they rallied into a 5-4 lead over the Eagles with help from pitcher Miles Archer and catcher Frank Mercado Jr. It was clear that they would not stop fighting until the last pitch.
Eastside would not hold the lead for very long because Oak Hall was brewing another long inning for Eastside’s pitchers. The Eagles seemed to find energy from their dugout as they would score six runs in three innings.
At the bottom of the sixth, a pitching change for Oak Hall could have potentially changed the outlook for the remainder of the game. Facing a four-run deficit, the Rams would come rallying back once again from the bats of Mercado Jr. and Thomas Shay. Eastside found themselves up 11-10 with a crucial seventh inning yet to be played.
Eastside scores 2 runs on a single up the middle. 4-3 Oak Hall. pic.twitter.com/sMKNZsL59p
— Carson Kaley (@CKaley11) March 22, 2023
Wild Seventh Inning
Eastside was looking for a quick inning and a win on their home turf. However, a pitching change for the Rams would ultimately decide this game. Leading 11-10, the Rams needed three outs. Instead, they gave up two runs to change the score to 12-11.
The Rams still had a chance to overcome another deficit. Yet, the fourth and final pitching change for Oak Hall was the right call as Jackson Beach would strike out two Eastside batters and lead Oak Hall to a victory.
Oak Hill takes the lead after being down to its last out. Relay home is an out that brings Eastside up in the bottom of the 7th down just 1 run. 12-11. pic.twitter.com/CPQi7HT2qS
— Carson Kaley (@CKaley11) March 23, 2023