Rally pushes East Coweta win streak to nine
by Staff Reports
East Coweta’s baseball team pulled a page out of the Miami Heat’s current winning streak on Friday, roaring back against Hillgrove when its undefeated record to start the 2013 season seemed well in jeopardy at home.
The Indians shook off a five-run deficit, rallying back by scoring seven unanswered runs to grab the lead while holding on to a 10-6 victory.
The win improves East Coweta’s perfect record to 9-0 heading into next week’s Region 3-AAAAAA series opener against Langston Hughes.
Jon Banks and Geremy Walton each went 3-for-4 to lead the Indians’ comeback effort on Friday. Banks drove in three runs including a solo blast in the bottom of the fifth to give East Coweta a lead for good after Tim Manning squeezed home the tying run with a bunt in the fourth inning.
The Indians’ perfect run through 2013, however, was in doubt early on before Hillgrove (6-6) helped East Coweta get back into the game with a sloppy fourth inning.
The Hawks struck for four runs on four hits in the second inning, three coming on starting pitcher Mitchell Mannino’s triple, before adding another in the third off a pair of two-out singles to force East Coweta to crawl out of an early hole.
To their credit, the Indians instantly began to chip away at the deficit, scoring all 10 runs in their final three at-bats starting with a five-run rally in the bottom of the fourth.
East Coweta slowly began to get to Mannino after managing just one hit through three innings. An error by Hillgrove shortstop Chad Adkins with one out allowed Indians senior Cole Amtmann to reach and the floodgats to open.
Banks and Walton followed with singles to load the bases and Matthew Meyer’s two-run single pulled the deficit to 5-2.
Mannino, who struck out five in four innings, followed with a hit-batsman and a balk that scored Walton before another error charged to Adkins scored Meyer from second to pull the Indians deficit to just one
Manning then followed with his squeeze bunt to tie the game.
The following inning, Banks greeted Hillgrove reliever Chandler Joiner with his homer to take a 6-5 advantage. Walton followed with a single of his own and scored after moving to third on Meyer’s second hit and scoring when Austin Jones legged out a grounder to avoid a double play that could have ended the inning.
After Hillgrove pulled back to within a 7-6 deficit in the top of the sixth, the Indians put together a three-run rally with two outs, two of which came on Banks’ clutch double to score Bryce Gemmel and Amtmann, who walked and singled, respectively.
After advancing on a passed ball, Banks scored on Walton’s third hit of the game.
Amtmann worked a scoreless seventh in relief to close out the win, striking out a pair with runners on first and third before getting Hillgrove’s Justin Haney to fly out to Gemmel in right.
Gemmel earned the victory on the mound while allowing one run off three hits in 2 1/3 innings in relief of starter Austin Bellamy before getting into trouble in the sixth. Meyer out the inning with a strikeout and a groundout before yielding to Amtmann.