West Side held its inaugural Eagle Classic this past weekend as Quitman, Sacred Heart and Bradford converged on Greers Ferry for a two-day tournament hosted by the Eagles.
Under the guidance of Coach Shane Davis, who led Conway Christian to a two-year record of 70-23, West Side won its home opener on Friday, downing Bradford 15-5 in the opening round.
Sacred Heart, which beat Quitman 14-5 in Friday's other opening round contest, blanked West Side 10-0 in Saturday's championship game after Bradford took out Quitman 22-12 in the consolation game.
“It all starts with pitching and defense and then getting timely hits. We pitched okay, the defense was not good and we only had two hits,” said Davis following the Eagles' loss to Sacred Heart.
“We were behind the fastballs and ahead of the off-speed pitches, so we have to go to work and get stronger in those areas. We've only had four practices, so hopefully we will improve,” added Davis.
In Friday evening's win over Bradford, the Eagles fell behind 2-0 in the top of the first as Dalton Armstrong was hit-by-a-pitch and scored on an RBI double off the bat of Kyler Turner, who also came across on a two-out error.
West Side starting pitcher Ben Hargrove, who tossed three innings while only allowing two hits and striking out seven, fanned the next batter, leaving a runner stranded in scoring position.
Bradford's lead held up until the bottom of the third, when the Eagles erupted with seven runs despite only one hit.
Bradford aided West Side's rally by committing five errors along with three walks and a hit batsman.
Bryce Hipp, Hayden Gilmore, Hargrove, Jimmy Thomas, Dalton Treece, Brandon Carr and Tyler Cowley all reached safely and scored in the third inning, while Mason Treece produced the Eagles' only hit, sending an RBI single to center field.
In relief of Hargrove, Thomas pitched around a one-out single in the top of the fourth and West Side busted the game wide open in the bottom half, scoring eight runs on four hits.
Hargrove crushed a double to deep left field to start the frame and Thomas walked before Austin Kirkland smashed a 2 RBI single to center field, scoring Hargrove and courtesy runner Blaine Hipp.
Dalton Treece reached on a hard ground ball that turned into an error, allowing courtesy runner Kory Johnson to score. After Carr walked, Mason Treece looped an RBI single to center that plated Dalton Treece.
With West Side leading 11-2, Cowley ripped a 2 RBI single to left field, scoring Carr and Mason Treece. Hipp reached on an error and scored moments later when Gilmore sent an RBI ground ball up the middle, extending the Eagles' lead to 15-2 before Bradford finally got out frame.
Page 2 of 2 - Needing four runs to extend the game, Bradford scored three in the top of the fifth inning, highlighted by Turner's hit- and-run, RBI double to the alley in right center.
Tristen Cowell added an RBI single to center, which scored Turner before West Side threw out Cowell at second base for the final out.
In Saturday's 10-0 loss to Sacred Heart, West Side only registered two hits ¬ one from Gilmore and one from Cowley.
Sacred Heart crafty right-handed pitcher Joe Beck struck out nine batters and only allowed four base runners in five innings.
Beck also led the Rebels' offense, finishing 2-for-2 with three runs scored. Hamp Maus was 1-for-1 with three runs and Jordan Ogle provided one big hit ¬ a bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the third inning, which caused West Side to relieve Hipp with Gilmore.
Playing as the home team on the scoreboard, Sacred Heart (2-0) led 2-0 after the first inning then added five insurance runs in the bottom of the third and three more in the fourth, highlighted by Alex Fresneda's 2 RBI single to left field.
West Side committed a three-base fielding error on Fresneda's single, allowing him to motor all the way around for a 10-0 lead, which held up in the top of the fifth as Sacred Heart claimed the inaugural Eagle Classic championship.