EATON — For the first time since 2016 Eaton’s baseball team has won a league championship.
The Eagles got a clutch 2-out, double to right field from sophomore JT Gels to score three runs and break a 1-1 tie in the fifth inning against visiting Middletown Madison on Wednesday, May 11 to help clinch the title.
The Eagles added another run to secure a 5-1 victory to clinch a share of the Southwestern Buckeye League West Division championship.
“We talked about it after Beavercreek, coming home, how special it would be to clinch at home in front of your fans on your own turf. It’s special. So, it’s nice to at least share a league title being at home,” Eaton coach Bob Ebright said. “Baseball is fun. Baseball’s a grind. We’ve played well up to this point and had a couple of games that we just haven’t played as well, but the kids battled their tails off and hats off to them and can’t be prouder of them.”
Eaton grabbed a 1-0 lead on the Mohawks in the fourth.
In the top of the fifth, Madison broke through.
With runners on second and third, the Mohawks got a single to center to score a run and tried to score the runner from second as well.
But a perfect throw from senior Christian Reyna to senior catcher Theo Winings for the out ended the threat and the inning.
Winings then started the four-run fifth for the Eagles.
He had a line drive single to center. After an out, Reid Tinstman and Reyna each were hit by pitches to load the bases, setting up Gels.
“We started off with Christian Reyna making a great throw throwing a guy out and keeping it 1-1. They had a little momentum going, Theo had a nice line drive up the middle. It was huge. Just takes a little moment away from them, we have our three, four and five up so I was feeling pretty good about that,” Ebright said. “Just any way to get on. We talk about the most important thing you have to do is get on (base). The only way you can score runs is if guys are on base.”
Gels drove a line drive down the right field line scoring all three runners to give his team a 4-1 lead.
Senior Jakob Keller followed with a double to left center to score another run.
“He was in a battle at the beginning of the year with a couple other guys,” Ebright said of Gels. “He’s just completely fought and competed for the left field job and he’s swinging it as well as anybody we have in the lineup right now. It’s good to see his hard work pay off. I know he puts a lot of time in as all our boys do and it’s good to see it pay off.”
The Eagles finished league play 11-2 and shared the SWBL West title with Carlisle, a team the Eagles beat twice.
Eaton suffered its only two league losses last week, falling to Waynesville (16-2) and Bellbrook (1-0).
“I just can’t say enough about the boys, the coaching staff how hard they’ve worked and the time they’ve put in,” Ebright said. “We’re just trying to just get better every single day. So, it’s been an absolute grind, but it’s been an it’s been an enjoyable grind.”
Eaton wrapped up regular season play on Monday, May with a 7-2 win over Kenton Ridge.
The Eagles (16-5) will open tournament play on Thursday, May 19 at home against either Valley View or Trotwood-Madison.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4061 and follow on Twitter @emowenjr