Eagles Swept by Churchill

Eagles Swept by Churchill

By Tim O’Sullivan

For the Independent

 

Once 5-0, the Eagles baseball team has hit a crossroads by losing seven of their last eight games.

That skid continued in a doubleheader loss at the hands of Churchill, 4-1, and 9-4 at the Yard on Saturday.

“We’re not doing the small things well,” Eagles head coach Josh Leedy said. “We’re throwing the ball around the infield, botching double play balls, routine ground balls. Just a lot of things that you expect some older people to take care of that’s not getting done.”

The Eagles missed on a pair of scoring opportunities early. Preston Johnson failed to get a sacrifice bunt down with two on and no outs in the fourth. Both runners were eventually left stranded.

With two outs and runners on second and third in the fifth, Coldin Shopp – who has excelled all season with two outs and runners on base – ripped a line drive, but right at left fielder Kyle Lund to end the inning.

Defensively, a critical error kept the Eagles from getting out of a two on, no out jam in the sixth. Beau Burnett’s ground ball had all the earmarks or turning into a double play, but instead scooted under the glove of shortstop Bennett Rodgers, leading to a three-run inning.

“He knows he makes that play often – nine out of ten times he makes that double play,” Said Leedy of his senior shortstop. “He makes that it’s a different ball game.”

Johnson pitched well in the opener, allowing three earned runs on five hits in six innings.

The only Eagles run came in the bottom of the sixth when Tanner Jostad walked, then scored from second on an errant throw by shortstop Bryson McKee.

For the second game in a row Churchill (13-1, 9-1 MWL) held the Eagles to just two hits. Jose Chavez went the distance, allowing one unearned run while striking out 10.

Both ends of the fourth inning proved disastrous for the Eagles in the nightcap.

In a 2-2 game, starter Jacoby Jackson loaded the bases with one out before giving way to Dylan Marsh. Marsh worked the count to two strikes before Michael Moore ripped a two-run double to right center field. Later with the bases loaded, third baseman Nate Page threw wide of home plate allowing two more runs to score as Churchill took a 6-2 lead.

With two outs and runners at second and third in the bottom half, Page was caught napping off second, eventually leading to Rodgers getting tagged out in a rundown between third and home.

In addition to allowing eight hits, Eagle pitchers hit three batters while also walking seven.

Chavez reached base five times in the second game (three walks, two hits) and scored three times.

Shopp had three hits in the nightcap, scored twice, and stole two bases.

It was the third time the Eagles (6-7, 4-5 MWL) were swept in a doubleheader this season.

“We gotta go revisit some goals in there,” Leedy said of an impending clubhouse meeting. “It’s time to kind of start fresh if we’re gonna make a playoff push. Because if not, we’re not gonna be there.”