Eagles float past Urchins in game one

Jacob Raines rounds third and heads for home after his leadoff homer in the fourth inning. Photos by Dennis Clayton.


ELLISTOWN – Eupora overcame cold, soggy weather conditions to take game one of the 2A series with East Union of Thursday. Eupora used a three-run fifth to overcome a 3-1 Urchin lead to win 4-3.
Eupora used two hits, two walks and an error to gain the advantage after the Urchins had led the contest through the first four innings of play.
Joel Wilkinson gave East Union the early lead, drawing a walk then stealing second. Wilkinson came home on an error at short off the bat of Ty McDonald to give the Urchins the 1-0 lead after an inning.
The Urchins added a run in the second as Ethan Hitt walked and later scored on Zane Wilkinson’s double to extend the Urchin lead to 2-0 after two.

Ethan Hitt rounds third and later scores on Zane Wilkinson’s RBI double.


Eupora scored a run in the third inning off a bases-loaded walk to cut the East Union advantage to 2-1.
Jacob Raines drilled a leadoff home run over the fence in left to raise the Urchin lead back to two runs at 3-1.
Joel went the distance on the mound for the Urchins, allowing four runs on eight hits with three walks while striking out eight.
Raines and Zane had the only extra-base hits and RBI for the Urchins with the home run and double.

Zane Wilkinson watches his double to left that would drive in Ethan Hits for the second East Union run against Eupora.

Bulldogs drop doubleheader to Tigers

Artavious Nugent follows through on his two-run homer in the fourth inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Artavious Nugent follows through on his two-run homer in the fourth inning. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Bulldogs drop pair in baseball doubleheader
BY DENNIS CLAYTON
RIPLEY – New Albany’s Bulldogs were their own worst enemy in Tuesday’s opening game of doubleheader action of summer baseball. Ripley won 11-2 and the Tigers also took the nightcap 5-3.
Ripley took advantage of two big innings to score eight of their 11 runs, plating three in the second and five in the fourth. Walks and errors kept both innings alive for the Tigers as they sent nine batters up in the second and 10 in the fourth.
New Albany closed the score to 3-2 in the top of the fourth as Austin Gafford’s grounder went through under the shortstop’s glove to get the leadoff man on. Eli Jackson’s sacrifice bunt moved Gafford to second. Sam McMillin was called out on an extremely close play at first to give the Bulldogs two outs. Artavious Nugent hit a two-run homer over the left-center fence to get the Bulldogs within a run.
The Tigers put the game out of reach with their five runs in the fourth and added three insurance runs to go up 11-2.
The Bulldogs managed two runs on four hits while committing seven costly errors. New Albany’s pitchers only surrendered seven hits, but seven walks and three hit batters gave the Tigers a host of baserunners during the contest.
The Bulldog defense committed seven errors which also resulted in keeping the Tiger’s scoring opportunities alive.
Austin Gafford drives his single into left. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Austin Gafford drives his single into left. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


Sam McMillin takes a pitch through the right side of the infield. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Sam McMillin takes a pitch through the right side of the infield. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Roaton’s complete game for Urchins evens series

Witt Roaton tossed a complete for the Urchins on Thursday to even their series 1-1. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Witt Roaton tossed a complete game for the Urchins on Thursday to even their series 1-1. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

BY DENNIS CLAYTON ELLISTOWN – Witt Roaton tossed a five-hitter while striking out 10 to lead East Union to their 5-4 win over East Webster in game two of their 2A baseball series. The win evened the series at 1-1. “I felt pretty good and I think all the pitches were working at some point,” Roaton said. “I just had to find my release point and just threw the ball up to the plate and let my defense work. I just gave it my all, it was my nanny’s birthday and I gave her a birthday present.” The Urchins wasted little time in pushing a run across the plate, Zane Wilkinson led off the Urchin first with a double and later scored on Thomas Moore’s sacrifice bunt. The Urchins failed to do further damage as they left the bases loaded in the frame. “Getting that early lead gave us momentum and just helped getting the guys pumped up in the dugout,” Moore said. “It was an awesome win.” East Union threatened again in the second following Ty McDonald’s walk and Moore’s single, but the inning ended on an extremely close play at first that could have gone either way to end the threat. East Webster made the best of a walk and three singles to score three runs in the top of the third to take a 3-1 lead. The Urchins came back in their half of the third to regain the lead as Lane Plunk and Drew Edwards opened the inning with back-to-back singles. Jacob Raines’ sacrifice bunt scored Plunk. Ty McDonald’s RBI single plated Edwards. Wilkinson drove in the final run with his single that scored Josh Basil to give East Union the 4-3 lead. East Webster scored their final run of the game in the fourth as they drove in a run with a sacrifice bunt to tie the game 4-4. The Wolverines picked up a couple of singles to get runners in scoring position in the inning. It would be the last hits they would get off Roaton for the rest of the night. East Union answered in the bottom of the fourth as Plunk crushed a triple with one out and was driven in on Edwards’ sacrifice fly to give the Urchins the 5-4 lead. “I just attacked it, being aggressive,” Plunk said of his night at the plate. When asked about the difference between games one and two Plunk said “We fielded the ball much better tonight, we were more calm, no jitters. We just kept fighting and fighting all night.” Plunk reached base three times with a triple, single and once reaching on an error. Wilkinson had multiple hits too, a double and single. “It all goes back to Witt’s night,” East Union coach Chris Basil said. “He did what he had to do, he had a great game tonight. We’ve been looking for that and he did a tremendous job and I’m awful proud of him, he got that big win and did what he had to do for us to be successful. I thought we did a tremendous job tonight of stealing some bases, taking some bases and hitting and running. Credit to our guys, they just all did a tremendous job tonight.” Looking to Friday’s game, Basil said the Urchins feel that they have more pitching than East Webster. “It’s just going to come down to playing the game,” Basil said. “You’ve just got to throw the ball over the plate and make the routine plays, move runner up when you’ve got to move them up.” Game three will be at East Webster on Friday at 6:00 with the winner advancing to the North State Championship next week.

Zane Wilkinson leads off the East Union first with his double. Wilkinson later scored the first Urchin run. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Zane Wilkinson leads off the East Union first with his double. Wilkinson later scored the first Urchin run. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Falcons and Urchins begin round three of playoffs

Cade Bell leads East Union in batting with a .432 average and 29 RBIs. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Cade Bell leads East Union in batting with a .432 average and 29 RBIs. Photo by Dennis Clayton.


BY DENNIS CLAYTON
East Union and Ingomar are the lone survivors of the original 10 Union County playoff teams in baseball and softball. Both teams begin their best of three series tonight in baseball.
Ingomar (21-6) will host Hamilton (10-11) at 7:00 tonight.
Matt Browning leads the Falcon pitching staff with his 7-1 record over 51.1 innings. Browning boasts a 1.91 ERA with 17 walks and 63 strikeouts.
Kelton Hall leads the team in batting with a .380 average with five home runs and 36 RBIs. Joseph Broom is next in production at the plate with .371 batting average and 24 RBIs and one home run.
East Union (15-15) will travel to East Webster (24-3) for their game one series opener today at 6:00.
The Urchins feature starter Witt Roaton as their ace pitcher. Roaton is 4-4 with a 3.34 ERA over 50.1 innings. He has 65 strikeouts and issued 31 walks on the year.
East Union is led by eighth-grader Cade Bell at the plate. Bell is batting .432 with 29 RBIs, one home run and nine doubles.
Leadoff batter Zane Wilkinson is also a threat to reach base with his .408 average and nine doubles. Wilkinson leads the Urchins in steals, having successfully stolen 18 of 19 attempts.
The series will shift on Thursday with Ingomar traveling to Hamilton and East Union will host East Webster. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 on Thursday.

Hawks clip Eagles in extra innings

Zack Perkins crushes a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch in the Myrtle fifth. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

Zack Perkins crushes a solo homer on an 0-2 pitch in the Myrtle fifth. Photo by Dennis Clayton.

BY DENNIS CLAYTON
MYRTLE – Myrtle and West Union needed eight innings to settle their Division 2-1A baseball opener and the Hawks were able to scratch out a 5-4 win. With bases loaded, the Hawks scored on a hit by pitch to take the narrow win.
“It was a big win, it’s one of those that seemed like a marathon game,” Myrtle coach Robert Gordon said. “I know it just went eight innings, but I was thinking, man I don’t know how much more I can take. I was glad we scratched that run across at the end, but I credit their pitcher, he’s good, he’s really good.
Myrtle scored in the bottom of the first as leadoff batter Lane Bishop doubled and later scored to put the Hawks up 1-0. Dillon Kennon extended the Hawks’ lead to 2-0 in the second as he got the leadoff walk and scored.
West Union came back in the third to take a 3-2 lead as catcher Luke Willard reached on an error. Riley Bogue came on to as a courtesy runner. Cole Phillips reached and Andrew Childers was hit by pitch to load the bases. John Austin Taylor drove in one run and two more scored on miscues by the Hawks.
Myrtle came right back in the bottom of the inning to tie as Brandon Perkins led off with a single and was driven in on Jacob Kent’s RBI double.
Zach Perkins broke the tie in the bottom of the fifth as he ripped a home run over the left field fence. Perkins was 0-2 in the count when he launched his shot to left to put the Hawks up 4-3.
The Eagles tied the score at 4-4 in the top of the sixth as John Austin Taylor doubled and later scored on Hayden Basil’s RBI single.
Both team threatened in the seventh inning but two plays at the play left the score deadlocked. In the Eagle seventh, a bunt attempt to push across the lead run failed as pitcher Brandon tagged out the runner trying to score from third. Myrtle got the leadoff batter on in their half of the inning and attempted to score him from second on Dillon Kennon’s single, but Eagle centerfielder Cole Phillips threw out the lead runner at the plate.
West Union threatened again in the eight after getting runners aboard at second and third with one out, but Brandon shut down the Eagle threat with back-to-back strikeouts.
Bishop singled and reached with one out and eventually wound up at third with still only one out. West Union opted to load the bases to set up the force at any base, but Myrtle took the win as Zach Perkins was hit to drive in the winning run.
“It was a great game,” Gordon said. “It was a great game to be a part of win or loss, I told my kids that if we had lost, I would have still been proud of them.”
Both starters Brandon for Myrtle and Taylor for West Union went the distance in the contest and gave their teams a quality outing and opportunity to win.
“When we started the game, I felt like we were tight, but I really feel like it means something to this group and it’s the first real big game they’ve played and once we got over that hump, we really battled,” West Union coach Ashley Russell said. “Both teams battled and that turned into one of the better baseball games that I’ve seen in a while. I was proud of my guys, we had a number of guys that made plays. John Austin Taylor battled for us and really has become a good leader and did everything he could to win, I put him in a bad situation there at the end of the game, that one’s on me.