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Eads Continues to Clean House in 1A Baseball

Spring cleaning continues for the Eads Eagles as they once again took the broom to their opponents over the weekend in a very important conference matchup at Cheyenne Wells.  Eads grabbed the first game 10-3, but the game was much closer than the score indicates.  In the nightcap, which did not count in conference standings, but did count in overall record, the Eagles had to come from behind to get the important win, 11-10.  The RPI rating is the path to the state playoffs and currently Eads has the strongest rating with Holly second and Denver Jewish Day in third in the 1A division.  The RPI rankings come into play for later tournament seeding opportunities.  It is getting down to crunch time in the next couple of weeks, and Coach Koehler is hoping the weather holds so they can pick up some of the games they were forced to postpone during early bad weather days.  Eads will be working toward a date with Holly next week, which will prove to be their biggest challenge thus far.

Kit Carson's Brad Johnson pitching for the Eads EaglesIn the first game at Cheyenne Wells, it would turn out to be a classic pitchers’ duel for most of the game as seniors Stephen Wilson, for Eads, and Kendall Pelton, for the Tigers, put on an award-winning performance until the support staff had to try to finish the job from each side of the stage.  Wilson got the Win, his fourth this season (4-0) after three innings of work where he gave up only 1 hit, no runs, walked only one, and struck out 5 batters.  His 0.00 ERA is still intact.  Pelton would push through to the fifth inning where he would give up the mound to fellow classmate, former Granada Bobcat, Jaime Huerta in the top of the sixth inning.  Wilson’s support staff was stellar as seniors Brad Johnson and Jaxon Crawford combined to be an opposing threat for the Eagles.  Johnson took over for Wilson in the top of the fourth inning and went through three innings giving up 3 hits, 3 runs (2 unearned), 6 walks, and mowed down four batters.  As he has all season, Crawford came in and threw a strong inning to finish off the Tigers just when they were threatening to get back into the game.  This kid is a gamer who knows what is needed at any given time.  Eads needed Crawford to end the game in the bottom of the 7th and he complied getting a strike out and two put outs. 

Offensively, the Eagles were able to take the advantage in the top of the first inning off a left-field error that allowed catcher Chance Fowler to get on base with one out on the field.  Rhett Uhland would be up next and was walked, as was Crawford in the three-hole.  With the bases juiced Koehler signaled Manny Soliz to put down a sac bunt and it was a beauty as Cheyenne Wells was forced to get Soliz out at first while Johnson zoomed in and scored.  That would be it for the first inning as Eads got a little production off a supreme bases-loaded opportunity.  After that inning, no one would score as the pitchers, Wilson and Pelton, did not make a mistake and made it very difficult for one team to take advantage of the other. 
Kit Carson's Jaxon Crawford hitting a double
It wouldn’t be until the top of the fifth inning, with Eads leading 1-0, that Eads scored as they were able to take advantage of another outfield error.  Johnson led the inning off with a strong single up the middle and advanced to second off the centerfield error.  Fowler then came up and it was time for the catcher to shake things up.  He would pound out an RBI double for Johnson to score, but would be caught at third trying to aggressively extend his hit.  Pelton would take care of the next two batters, Uhland and Crawford, and just slipped by a catastrophic inning.   In the bottom of the fifth Johnson started out by walking Pelton.  He would go out when Huerta landed on first base off a fielder’s choice.  Johnson then struck out Peyton Halde.  However, senior Trey Livingston came through for the Tigers hitting a solid double that scored Huerta.  Livingston was caught at third trying to extend the hit for the third out.  The damage was done and Eads barely held on, 2-1, going into the top of the sixth innings.

Miranda Mitchek rounding the base - Photo Credit Bob SchecterAnd then the heaven’s shined down upon the Eagles.  Pelton gave up the mound to Huerta.  Soliz started Eads out with a walk and was replaced on the base pads by Miranda Mitchek.  Conaway had a nice single that put runners on the corners.  Wilson was hit by the pitch to juice the bases.  Going into the top of the order, Johnson stepped up with a 2 RBI single, Fowler followed the leader getting 2 more RBIs with a hard blast past second base.  Uhland moved Fowler to third on his double.  With two on, Crawford’s double scored Fowler and Uhland.  After that crucial sixth inning at-bat, Eads now led, 8-1.

But give credit due to the Tigers, they never gave up as they got some production in the bottom of the sixth and Coach Billy Koehler was hoping Johnson could work his way through one more inning for Eads.  Cheyenne Wells started off with Fishler who hit a single but was put out at second by a fielder’s choice from short stop.  Two more batters came aboard off singles and Pelton walked.  With bases loaded, Halde walked in a run and then Livingston walked in a second run.  But Johnson is a competitor and the senior managed to get poised enough to strike out the next batter for the final out of the inning.  Eads still led 8-3.  Eads grabbed two more runs off Huerta in the top of the second as they took advantage of a couple of singles and a walk.  Uhland’s second double scored two and stopped any potential rally the Tigers might have had in mind.  Crawford then came in and finished off Cheyenne Wells in three straight batters.

This was a huge win for Eads as the Eagles stayed undefeated and beat a highly ranked 1A team in Cheyenne Wells.  Uhland had a big day at the plate going 2-for-3 with 2 hits (both doubles), one run, 2 RBIs and an .800 on-base percentage.  Johnson helped himself out with 2 hits, 2 runs, and 2 RBIs.  Fowler had 3 RBIs, 1 run, 1 hit, and walked twice. 

Rhett Uhland after his 2nd DoubleThe second game did not count as a conference game, but it did count in the overall record.  Eads may have still been celebrating their first game victory as defensively they allowed five runs in the first inning.  Fowler had scored in the top of the first off a Trey McDowell single.  The five runs came against Uhland who started the game on the mound for the Eagles.  After one inning Eads trailed, 5-1.  The Eagles did get back two runs in the top of the second as Cameron Crow led off with a strong single to left field and Mitchek walked putting two aboard.  Conaway’s sac bunt moved Crow and Mitchek into scoring position for Johnson who brought them home on a long single.  Cheyenne Wells got another run off of Uhland in the second inning and after two complete they were in control, 6-3.  But slowly the Eagles came back into the game with McDowell scoring in the third inning; and Conaway, Uhland, Crawford, and McDowell scoring in the top of the fourth.  After 4 complete innings, Eads had the lead for good, 8-7.   Eads added three more in their final at-bat and led, 11-7.   But Cheyenne Wells wasn’t going down without a fight and bagged three more runs in the final inning before the Eagles could stop their momentum. 

Crawford would come in to pitch in the bottom of the third inning and finished the game getting his second win of the season.  He’s sitting on a 2.84 ERA.  The senior righty gave up 5 hits, 2 earned runs, 2 walks, and fanned four.  Crawford also led offensively with 1 run on 1 hit with 3 RBIs and 2 stolen bases.  McDowell had a nice game scoring twice, with 2 hits and 4 RBIs. 

Eads has a couple of makeup games this week and are looking forward to good contests against Fowler on Saturday at home; and then traveling to Manzanola next Monday for a double header.  They will then set their sights on the tough Holly Wildcats at the end of next week.
Photo Credit: Marty Miller (Photo of Miranda Mitchek by Bob Schecter)
 
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