The very young Eads Eagles managed to qualify for the regional playoffs due to their RPI rankings as they have played well against stiff competition throughout the season. With their RPI putting them in the 13 seed of 16 teams who qualified, they ended up playing in a four-way tournament at Haxtun with the Bulldogs as the top-seeded host.
Eads would take on Haxtun on Saturday and managed to hang with the senior-laden Bulldogs for much of the game but came up short 8-2 seeing their up-and-down season end with a 7-11 overall season record. The loss marked the end of a career for the only senior on Eads’ team TJ Conaway who has been the go-to spark for Eads. Conaway is one of 5 players from Kit Carson High School who has played with Eads this year.
That’s all the bad news. The good news is that Eads is very young and has the potential to be a dominating team as early as next year.
Of next year’s team Coach Chad Rouse was excited, “We just lose TJ. But, wow, is he a major loss as he was a tremendous player and leader for us. However, if we get back all our players and they commit to the system and the challenges we have put before them, we have the potential of being great next year. It all depends on the buy-in from the younger kids.”
In the game against Haxtun the Eagles fell behind right away as Haxtun’s Drew Coffin hit a first inning homerun off of Conaway. But Conaway battled back and did a good job containing a high-octane Bulldog offense.
Rouse was very impressed with how Conaway threw against Haxtun, “TJ did an outstanding job after settling in. After that initial home run, he took Coffin’s bat out of his hands by keeping the ball away from him.”
Eads came out firing on all cylinders as they scored two runs in the first inning and were threatening to break the game open.
“We had to play our best ball to beat Haxtun and I thought we were going to go after them in our first at-bat as we had bases loaded after scoring two. Unfortunately, we didn’t get them home when we needed to and the rest of the game we could not catch up with their pitcher.”
Haxtun for their part scored two runs in the first and two more in the second to have a lead going into the latter stages of the game, 4-2.
They then scored three runs in the sixth inning to close the door on Eads. Coffin and Alex Bornhoft drove in runs in that sixth stanza. Eads eventually fell 8-2 to the Bulldogs.
Conaway toed the rubber for five innings allowing only three hits and five runs, striking out five. Brandon Lening threw one inning in relief out of the bullpen.
The first inning runs came when Conaway was hit by the pitch with one out. Cordell Farmer then walked moving Conaway to second base. Zack Fowler also walked loading the bases. Cade McDowell then hit an RBI single to center field, scoring Conaway. The bases remained juiced. Hatch Nelson then came to the plate and sent a scorching line drive single to center field that scored Farmer. With the bases still loaded the next two Eagle batters struck out ending the Eads attack.
Eads only had three hits on the day with McDowell, Nelson, and Damien Barnes all managing singles against the tough Haxtun battery.
Photo 1: Sophomore Hatch Nelson had a strong game for Eads getting a key RBI single in the top of the sixth. Eads eventually lost to Haxtun 8-2. - Photo Credit Wilson Photography
Photo 2: The lone senior on the Eads baseball team, TJ Conaway from Kit Carson, took the mound against Haxtun and went five innings in his final preps baseball game. Eads would end their season in a 8-2 loss to the Bulldogs. - Photo Credit Jamie Conaway