Tuesday night saw the East Mecklenburg Eagles jump out to a 4-1 lead, but the Patriots got solid pitching and took advantage of three walks and two singles in the bottom of the seventh for a dramatic 5-4 home win over the Eagles.
The Eagles got on the scoreboard in top of the first inning when Luke Little, batting second, mashed a solo home run over the right field wall to give East Meck a 1-0 lead after a half inning of play.
Indy answered back in the bottom half of the inning with Nate Brown hitting a double to left field. After a few pitches, Brown got a big jump on the pitch and headed to third base. East Meck’s catcher attempted to throw out the runner, but Brown beat the throw and was safe at third. As the Eagle’s third baseman threw the ball back to the pitcher, the ball sailed high over the pitcher’s head and rolled to the fence down the first baseline. Brown scored standing up to tie the score 1-1 after one full inning.
The score remained tied until the top of the sixth when the Eagles scored three runs. Trey Truitt led off for the Eagles and drew a walk. Luke Little followed with a single putting runners on first and second with no outs. Michael Bixby was awarded first base after being hit by a pitch. With the bases loaded and no outs, Devin Summers drew a walk scoring Truitt. Rafael Pena hit a single to left field driving in Little. Michael Bixby scored on a passed ball to make the score 4-1.
East Meck’s Matthew Scavatto came to the plate and hit a hard line drive to the right side of the mound. The runner at first left the base and headed towards second. Indy’s first baseman Raja Milton made a diving catch for the out. He quickly got to his feet and stepped on first base for the unassisted double play. With two outs, Skyler Strzelecki stepped up and drew a walk, however he was picked off at first to end the inning.
In the bottom of the sixth East Meck’s Luke Little was approaching his 105 pitch limit. Before leaving the game after throwing 106 pitches, Little walked two Indy batters and struck out two. Jared King came in to relieve Little. With two outs and two on, King walked the next two Indy batters which gave Noah Howie a free pass to the plate making the score 4-2 after six full innings.
In the top of the seventh, Indy’s Corbin Berkovics faced two Eagle batters. He struck out the lead off hitter and walked the next Eagle batter. With the top of East Meck’s batting order coming up, Jake McDaniel got the call and took the mound. Berkovics moved to first base. McDaniel got the second out on a fly ball to left field. Coach Cooke then called on Drew Harris to close out the inning. Harris struck out East Meck’s last batter to retire the side.
In the bottom half of the seventh Indy’s first two batters went down. With two outs, Matthew Mangum came to the plate and drew a walk. Noah Howie followed and hit a single up the middle to move Mangum to third and Howie advanced to second on the throw to third. With runners on second and third and two outs, Ryan Mangum walked to load the bases. CJ Brown was next up and drew a walk scoring Matthew Mangum to make the score 4-3. With two outs and the bases loaded, Corbin Berkovics came up next to bat. After going deep into the count, Coach Cooke called for the hit and run. With the base runners moving, Berkovics got an infield hit scoring two runs to end the game 5-4.
On a side note Tuesday was Coach Cooke’s birthday, and after the game his players celebrated the win and his birthday by giving Coach Cooke a Gator-Aid shower.
Indy improved to 6-4 in conference play and 9-9 overall.
East Mecklenburg 1 0 0 0 0 3 0 – 4
Independence 1 0 0 0 0 1 3 – 5