A five run sixth inning by the Falkville Blue Devils breaking a 5-5 tie ultimately led to the Athens Golden Eagles losing only their second of nine games by a final score of 10-7 Friday at Athens High School.
The Golden Eagles got going early with a leadoff single by Connor Beck, who scored on a single by Heath Carden. Carden eventually came around to score on an RBI groundout to by Sam Sandy. The Golden Eagles weren’t done as they tallied two more runs on an RBI single by Zach Harries and Harries eventually coming around to score on an error. After one, the Golden Eagles were up 4-0.
Falkville finally got on the scoreboard with their first run off of Athens starting pitcher Zach Siwiec in the top of the fourth inning. Falkville’s Caden Burnett opened the inning with a single, their first hit of the game, followed by an RBI double by Wyatt Tomlin. Another run came around to score later in the inning on an RBI single by Dawson Fowler, cutting the lead in half to 4-2. Siwiec’s final line for the Golden Eagles was 4.0 innings, three hits, two runs, one walk and four strikeouts.
In the top of the fifth, the Blue Devils were able to quickly tie things up at 4-4. Burnett came around to score on an error and Tomlin scored from third on a passed ball.
As quickly as the Blue Devils were able to tie things up, the Golden Eagles regained the lead in the bottom half of the inning on a Cooper Cochran RBI single bringing around Aidan Cook to make it 5-4 heading into the sixth.
The sixth inning proved tough for the Golden Eagles. They used four pitchers in the inning, allowing five runs to cross home plate before Grayson Harbin was able to get the final out. In the bottom of the sixth, the Golden Eagles were able to add two more runs on an RBI single from Sandy and Cochran bringing around Trenton Harries on an error. But the late surge wasn’t enough for Athens to come back, losing 10-7.
Coming into this game, the Golden Eagles had won seven of their last eight games, winning four of five games on their spring break road trip in Albertville that week.
“We’re continuing to get better. We put the ball in play and we’re playing a whole lot better defense than we were a couple weeks ago,” Athens head coach Chuck Smith said. “This week being spring break we were able to play as many games as possible and we have taken advantage of that playing three last Friday, two on Tuesday, one on Thursday and one today.”
In those games, Smith has noticed a lot of improvement with his team. “Defensively we’re a lot better. Our pitchers have started throwing strikes and we’re not walking leadoff guys or walking guys with two outs. That plays a big role on your defense because if the pitching is doing what it’s supposed to do, defense is going to play behind them,” Smith said. “We have started to swing the bat a lot better the past week, week and a half and for our pitchers it’s a lot easier to pitch with a lead than when you’re pitching from behind.”
Athens finished with eight total hits. Harries led all Golden Eagles with four hits. Carden and Cochran each tallied two hits. Beck, Sandy and Braeden Harrison each finished with one. Sandy led the Golden Eagles in RBIs with two, while Zach Harries, Carden and Cochran had one RBI apiece.
Athens goes 0-2 in Saturday’s doubleheader
After a 10-7 loss Friday to Falkville at home, the Athens Golden Eagles were quickly back at Athens High School on the baseball diamond with two games Saturday against the Huntsville Panthers and the Bob Jones Patriots. Both games were competitive throughout, but the Golden Eagles fell 5-3 and 11-10 in 11 innings against the Patriots.
Zach Harries led the Golden Eagles with two hits in the first game, while the other two came from Austin Uptain and Jack Elliot. Heath Carden and Harries each tallied one RBI.
Landon Leslie was the starter for Athens, going five innings, allowing five hits, four runs, three of those runs were earned, two walks and five strikeouts. Braden Harrison relieved Leslie and finished with a final line of two innings pitched, one hit, one run, two walks and three strikeouts.
In the second game, the Golden Eagles found themselves behind by three in the seventh inning before coming from behind to tie the game at 8-8 and go to extra innings. Two runs came around to score in that inning via on error by Patriots pitcher, Collin East. The third and tying run of the game came by way of a bases loaded walk to Golden Eagle Camden Shields. A few innings went by before any team scored again, but the Patriots scored three runs in the top of the 11th inning to give them an 11-8 lead.
The Golden Eagles had one last chance to come back in the bottom half of the inning. Two wild pitches by Bob Jones pitcher, Braden Booth, allowed two Golden Eagles to cross home plate before getting the final strikeout of the game.
Sam Sandy led all Golden Eagles with four hits. Connor Beck, Zach Harries, Heath Carden, and Cooper Cochran each finished with two. Shields had one hit. Cochran led the team with four RBIs while Harries and Shields added one RBI to their totals. In total, the Patriots scored 11, only five of those runs were earned. Athens overall record now stands at 14-16.