Eagles Split Postseason Opener, Hit the Road Wednesday

Coker Gilbert runs down Wardlaw's Britt Gosset from third in the fifth inning of game 1 Monday. (Photo/Kay Hensley)

Coker Gilbert runs down Wardlaw’s Britt Gosset from third in the fifth inning of game 1 Monday. (Photo/Kay Hensley)

WINNSBORO (May 3, 2016) – With the series on the line Monday night, and with Richard Winn Academy still stinging from having game one snatched away from them, the Eagles’ big right-hander came through.

Coker Gilbert toed the mound in game two and gave up only one run on four hits in the run-shortened 13-1 five-inning victory over Wardlaw Academy in the opening round of the SCISA Class A baseball playoffs at Billy Ladd Field.

“(Gilbert) has been our ace all year,” RWA head coach Paul Brigman said. “We kind of saved him for the second game just to make sure. He did a great job. He’s been really good all year and he came through again for us.”

While Gilbert kept a lid on the Patriots, the Eagles’ bats chased Wardlaw starter William Prince after just two innings of work. Gilbert helped his own cause early, driving in Peyton Gilbert, who walked in the first, to spot his club a 1-0 lead.

Gunnar Hensley drew a walk to lead off the second, and John Lewis was plunked by an inside pitch. Hunter Glisson also got in the way of a Prince pitch to load the bags. Overall, Patriots’ pitching would zing nine RWA batters during the nightcap bruise-fest.

With the bags juiced, Peyton Gilbert delivered an RBI single, scoring Hensley, while Lewis would come around on a fielder’s choice off the bat of Christian Christianson.

The Eagles batted around in the third and fourth innings, tacking on five more runs in each frame.

The outburst was a far cry from game one, where the Eagles struggled to cobble together three runs in the 4-3 loss.

Although RWA found seven hits against Wardlaw’s Zach Berry, they stranded 11. Still, the Eagles led 3-2 going into the top of the seventh. With starter Jacob Steele still on the hill for RWA, the Patriots mounted a late rally.

Steele plunked leadoff batter Britt Gossett, then struck out Berry. But Caleb Kemp delivered a clutch RBI down the right field line on a 2-1 count to tie the game at 3. After Preston Jones reached on an infield error that sent Kemp to third, Steele was lifted for Coker Gilbert.

Gilbert then walked William Prince to load the bases. Kemp, the winning run, came around on another infield error that allowed Owen Everding to reach first.

The Eagles committed six errors in the game one loss.

“It was very disappointing to lead that first whole ballgame and have them take it from us right there at the end,” Brigman said, “but I thought the guys were very resilient, they bounced back really well, kind of put it behind them and came out ready to fight in the second game.”

The Eagles travel to Wardlaw Wednesday (May 4) for a 6 p.m. start to the deciding game. Christianson is expected to get the start for RWA.

“We’re hopeful that we’ve seen their best (pithing),” Brigman said. “The guy that started the second game (Prince) has pitched against us twice this year. He’s been their main guy and we handled him pretty well today.”