GHS beats Elba

Published 3:00 am Saturday, April 4, 2015

Goshen's Bryant Stephens releases a pitch during the team's match up against Elba. The Eagles won 6-4 securing their place in the playoffs. MESSENGER PHOTO/THOMAS GRANING

Goshen’s Bryant Stephens releases a pitch during the team’s match up against Elba. The Eagles won 6-4 securing their place in the playoffs.

The Goshen Eagles made quick work of the Elba Tigers on Friday, downing their area rivals 6-4 and securing a spot in the playoffs.

“It was very big, there’s no doubt,” said head coach Robby Kinsaul said. “I had a meeting with my seniors, and I told them that was definitely for them. They will probably never understand how much I wanted that for them, all three of them.”

Goshen had travelled to Elba on Thursday and defeated the Tigers 12-10. Friday’s deciding game of the series was played in Goshen and started off in a stalemate, until Bryant Stephens was able to get the first hit in the fourth inning for the Eagles. Ty Witherington followed with a single and J.P. Steele drew a walk, starting the rally that led to six runs in the inning. Kinsaul chalked the hits and runs up to the little adjustments made in the batter’s box.

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“They kind of had us off balance a little bit,” Kinsaul said. “The kid they had throwing the ball, he was throwing it pretty good and had a very good curve ball that was keeping us off balance, We found a way, for one inning at least, to get enough runs in with a little bit of an adjustment of getting our front foot down and hitting more so in the middle of the ball instead of the bottom of the ball where we were popping the ball up.”

The team put six runs up on the board with Braxton Stewart batting in two runners. Stephens was walked in and Bailey Singleton batting in one runner.

The Tigers were able to gain some ground in the top of the sixth earning four runs, which Kinsaul said was due to a breakdown on the field.

“We didn’t hit the cutoff man getting the ball back in from centerfield, let a ball get past us in right field there, they score the third run,” Kinsaul said. “Just little things and not staying focused and doing what we’re supposed to do.”

Kinsaul said after the inning he had just told his players to continue playing the baseball game he knew they were capable of playing.

Stephens threw the last two outs for the Eagles during Thursday’s game against Elba, and threw six innings to earn the win on Friday. Kinsaul brought in Landon Wilks as the closer. During his time on the mound Stephens earned five strike outs with one of them being looking. Wilks was able to strike out the Tigers’ lead batter and caught an infield pop fly for two outs in the inning.

“(Stephens) had thrown the last two outs yesterday, so he could only pitch six innings, and Landon that was huge,” Kinsaul said. “He’s a sophomore, and he got it done. That was the lead off batter, the number two batter and the number four batter that he got out. “

Jabronski Williams, centerfielder for the Eagles, caught the last out of the game for the Eagles, and Kinsaul said the win was big not just for the team but the whole community.

“You see how many fans we had here today, that was probably one of the biggest crowds that we’ve had in four or five years, just for them, our community and our school,” Kinsaul said. “Coach Lane and First Sgt. Power, our two principals, and for our 14 strong. I’ve said that a couple of times, but that’s what we are. They play for each other and those three seniors. I’m so happy for them.”

Since the team had taken the motto of ’14 strong’ to heart, Kinsaul said he had seen a turnaround in his team and couldn’t be more proud of the way his team was playing because they were playing together.

“Like yesterday, you never know,” Kinsaul said. “Adam Turner, I start him in left field, he makes a big play for out three in the sixth to get the last out and then our other guys coming off the pitch running for our pitcher and catcher. They never know when it’s going to be their time. They always have to be ready. That’s why I tell them 14 strong, because everybody has a role.”

The Eagles’ win secured their position in the playoffs, but the Eagles’ next outing will be Monday against county rival Pike County.