Eufaula sweeps Eagles

Published 12:00 am Sunday, March 24, 2002

Sports Editor

When Marcus Scott stepped up to the plate and delivered a three-run homer in the second game of a doubleheader against Eufaula on Saturday, Eagles’ head coach Chad Dube had to be thinking that this game was in the bag.

After all, prior to Scott’s second at-bat of the game the Goshen senior had struck out eight straight times.

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But as it were, a game the Eagles seemed fated to win disappeared with two hits and three runs by the Tigers in the seventh. The 13-11 victory was the second straight of the day for Eufaula, which also took the first game by the final score of 9-2.

After falling behind by one-run against the Tigers, Scott’s fifth-inning shot over center field had given Goshen (3-4) the 11-8 lead. Eagles’ starting pitcher Brandon Hughes had got in trouble earlier that inning, hitting two Eufaula batters and walking two others. Chad Sanders came in as relief, took a line drive hit to the shoulder off the bat of Walter Jones and walked in another run before center fielder Wesley Wright recorded the final out on a deep fly ball.

The Tigers totalled six runs off only one hit in the inning to take the 8-7 lead.

Dube knew his pitching was going to be sorely tested against Eufaula. Eagles’ ace Wesley Wright had just pitched a six-inning, 4-0 shutout of area opponent Georgiana on Friday. Wright struck out all 18 batters he faced.

The starter in the first game with Eufaula, Brandon Walters, as well as Hughes and Sanders, are all freshmen.

"These games are nice to win, but area (games) are where your bread and butter is," said Dube. "Those are the ones that determine your playoff situation. Still, I am a little disappointed that we didn’t win at least one of these."

Jones’ straight shot back at the mound temporarily brought a halt to action as the ball hit Sanders squarely on the shoulder, bounced up and then fell to the dirt. The young pitcher found the ball and did his best to throw Jones out at first before collapsing in front of the mound in obvious pain. But after being attended to by the officials and coaches, Sanders stayed in the contest.

"He’s a tough kid," said Dube. "This was his first action of the season pitching and he did about as well as I could have asked him to, given the situation."

Goshen opened the second game by scoring four runs in the first inning off Tigers’ starter Jeff White, claiming a 4-2 lead. Clarence Bean reached base on balls and Wright sent a 1-0 offering by White into left field for a two-run homer. Jason Burgans followed with a single and scored on a basehit by Sanders. Hughes capped off the scoring with a sacrifice fly.

The Eagles got three runs off no hits in the second as White walked three batters and made a crucial error on a throw to third base. White was attempting to cut off Eagles’ base runner Thomas Price at third, but the ball sailed over the third baseman’s head and into foul territory, allowing Price to come home and Wright to move into scoring position. A balk by White scored Wright from third and Jason Burgans added another Goshen run on a pass ball.

"We got that big lead and we just sort of sat back," said Dube. "It was like we were thinking they weren’t going to come back and then before you knew it we were in a battle."

White was pulled in favor of Kenton Peterson in the third, who held Goshen scoreless for two innings before giving up the home run by Scott.

Eufaula got two runs in on error in the sixth. Loren Moid’s single in the top of the seventh tied the game at 11-11 and Garrett Palmer’s two RBI single put Eufaula up for good. Goshen was able to get Sanders on base with a walk, but Hughes, Matt Johnson and Matt Qualls failed to get a hit in the Eagles’ last at-bat.

In the opening game, Eufaula took a 5-1 lead going into the bottom of the fourth when Wright singled in a run for the Eagles. However, the Tigers held off the Goshen charge with back-to-back RBI doubles by Jones and Peterson.

Eufaula led 7-2 after the fifth and added two more runs in the seventh.

Goshen plays at Troy State on Tuesday against Houston Academy.