EATON — At the beginning of the week Bob Ebright and his Eaton baseball team knew the task ahead if they wanted to remain at the top of the league standings.
Both Eaton and Carlisle entered the week unbeaten in the Southwestern Buckeye League West Division at 7-0. Eaton came in 11-2 overall, while the Indians were riding an 11-game winning streak and sported a 12-3 record overall.
The two teams were scheduled to meet twice — at Carlisle on Wednesday and at Eaton on Friday.
“Obviously, we understood Carlisle and their league record and we understood they are one of the most quality opponents we’re going to face all year and understood that we were probably going to have to at least split with them to be at the top of the league,” Ebright said. “So you know you’re going to have to knock them off to have an opportunity to win league. And we understood that and I think the kids understood that and it’s just been a fun week.”
Ebright’s comments came moments after his Eagles completed a two-game sweep of Carlisle on Friday with a dominating 10-2 win. On Wednesday, Eaton limited the Indians to just one hit in taking game one, 3-0.
In the first game junior pitcher Brady Rice was dominant on the mound as he struck out 13 batters and faced just one batter over the minimum 21 for a seven inning game.
“It was a fun time to watch him throw,” Ebright said. “Was fun to watch. His command was outstanding. He commanded the strike zone, mixed it well, with his off speed, his curve ball or slider, fastball, change up. And he had a little bit of pop on his fastball at times when he needed it.”
Eaton scored a run in the first then added two more in the fifth.
When Rice was on the mound he was delivering at the plate going 2-for-3 with two RBIs and a double. J.T. Gels, Christian Reyna and Theo Winings had the other three hits for the Eagles.
On Friday, Carlisle grabbed a 2-1 lead in the top of the second, but was held scoreless the rest of the way by junior Carson Brower.
The Eagles took control scoring seven times in the bottom of the second inning — all with two outs — to take an 8-2 lead.
“I think you could see it with our pitcher Carson Brower. I thought he relaxed a little bit on the mound, especially when you get a seven run lead,” Ebright said. “Thought we got a little more energy obviously. I think we were locked in from the beginning, but when you get a seven run inning all with two outs the kids understand if we keep playing this was a good opportunity for us.”
Brady Davis was 2-for-3 with a double. Gels was 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Jakob Keller was 1-for-3 with a double and RBI. Reyna added two hits and drove in a run. Gavin Winings added a hit and two RBIs. Reid Tinstman and Theo Winings each double and drove in a run and Rice added a bases clearing double to drive in three.
Ebright credits his senior class for providing leadership.
”More than anything I think our five seniors have done a phenomenal job of leading for us, getting opportunities to be vocal, to lead. I think all of them had their opportunities this year to get a big hit, get a big play, make a big pitch,” he said. “So I can’t say enough about the seniors and how they’re embracing the leadership and embracing the young guys and just trying to get them better every single day.”
Ebright said despite holding a two-game lead with four to play in the league, his team continues to focus on improving each time out.
”We talk about just trying to get better every day and understand that opportunities are still there to get better and to get knocked off,” Ebright said. “So we still got to keep grinding. We’ve talked about you got to get better because the next four games are league games and anybody can knock you off at any time.”
Ebright, in his first season as head coach, added the team is made up of quality kids.
”Obviously winning’s fun, but it’s winning with absolute quality young man,” he said. “I can’t say enough about those 15 kids that are in there. They’re great kids. Great academically. They do the things right. It’s made my job a whole lot easier.”
Eaton begin the week with an 8-4 win over Tri-County North on Tuesday, April 26, at Day Air Ballpark.
The Eagles (13-2, 9-0 SWBL) were scheduled to play at Oakwood on Monday, May 2. They are scheduled to play at Bellbrook on Thursday and host Coldwater on Saturday. On Monday, May 9, they will host Waynesville.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr