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Goshen smacks McKenzie

Goshen baseball coach Mickey Jacobs changed his batting order before Monday's game against McKenzie.

Sometimes, players make coaches look like geniuses.

Jacobs put Matt Qualls in the cleanup spot and the third baseman responded with a five-for-five outing. He hit two doubles, drove in six runs and scored four as Goshen (5-1) defeated McKenzie 18-8 in five innings.

"I had been struggling of late and I wanted to come out of the slump," Qualls said. "I just tried to hit whatever I could hit."

Qualls drove in the first two runs of the game on a double in the first and the final two runs with a single in the fifth. When the final two runs scored, the umpires called the game on the basis of the 10-run rule.

Qualls did not even know he was hitting for a perfect day when he stood up.

"I thought I might have reached on an error once," he said. "I just wanted to hit it hard."

Goshen hitters took advantage of the McKenzie pitching all the way through the game. Goshen pounded out 15 hits and benefited from four McKenzie errors.

McKenzie had a decent day at the plate, scoring eight runs on six hits, but struggled on the mound and in the field. Three McKenzie pitchers tried to stem the Eagle tide, and starter Patrick Hamilton even came back in the game to try to keep the Eagles grounded.

"We hit the ball well again today," Jacobs said. "We hit the ball well against Georgiana and we hit it well today. I don't know how much of that is pitching, sometimes it's easier to hit bad pitching than good pitching, but I was glad to see us hit the ball well."

Goshen started the game off with a fast start. The Eagles batted around in the first inning to take a 7-0 lead.

Clarence Bean led off the inning with a walk and earned one of his four stolen bases to get to second. After Chad Sanders flew out to left, pitcher Wesley Wright also walked.

That set up Qualls' first double, a long shot to center field. McKenzie's Chad Posey ran a long way before losing the ball in the air. Two runs came in and Goshen led 2-0.

Qualls advanced to third on a wild pitch and came in to score on Damareo Green's ground out to second.

Foster Styron walked and Matt Dyess reached on an error by Eric Gomillion. Judson Ricks hit a two-RBI single to score Dyess and Victor Norton, who was the courtesy runner for Styron. Goshen led 5-0 at that point.

Daniel Linton singled and Bean followed suit. Sanders also singled to give Goshen a 7-0 lead after the first inning.

"It was tough to give up those runs that early," McKenzie coach Eartis Lee said.

McKenzie cut into the lead in the second in large part because of Eagle errors. Qualls and Dyess each had fielding errors and McKenzie cut the lead to 7-3. None of the runs were earned.

Qualls represented the lone Eagle run in the bottom of the second. He singled to lead off the inning and scored on Styron's RBI ground out.

Green committed an error in the third that led to two more unearned runs.

Jordan Lowe popped up to Green in foul territory with two outs in the third and nobody on base. Green dropped the ball, though, and Lowe eventually walked. Chad Posey leaned in on a pitch to draw a free base and Sattrick Rudolph also walked.

Jon Reid hit a single to cut the Eagle lead to 8-5. All walks and runs occurred after Green's drop – which would have made the third out – so the runs were not earned.

Goshen put the game away in the bottom of the inning by batting around again. The Eagles scored five runs to pad the lead to 13-5.

Goshen scored one more run in the fourth to stretch the lead to 14-5, but gave up three in the fifth to make the score 14-8.

The Eagles scored four in the bottom of the fifth and the game ended with one out and Qualls standing on first.

Goshen travels today to face area opponent Georgiana.