By Jeffery Armstrong
Mt. Zion Bulldogs head coach Bruce Jones said his players were still in spring break mode and not focused on the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles' baseball team.
He might be right, as the Bulldogs allowed a four-run second inning and wound up losing 8-2 to Eagle's Landing Monday night in Region 2-AAAAA action at Eagle's Landing.
"We didn't lose because of ability or aptitude; we lost because of attitude," said a disappointed Jones. "We didn't come to play at all. I think that was the worst game we've played all year."
Mt. Zion (3-9, 2-5 in region play) held Eagle's Landing (9-4, 5-2) to only one run in the first inning, but the Bulldogs fell apart in inning two. After a groundout, Mt. Zion starting pitcher Jacob Fletcher gave up four consecutive hits (including two doubles) and Eagle's Landing soon led 4-0. Fletcher gave up five runs (four earned) on four hits in 1 1/3 innings. He walked two and struck out one.
Fletcher was then switched to catcher and starting catcher Cannady Walker moved to the mound. Fletcher then gave up a passed ball and the Eagles led 5-0.
Mt. Zion didn't threaten the Eagles after that. Fletcher scored the Bulldogs' first run on a groundout by Walker in the fourth inning and second baseman Dusty White (1-for-4, two errors) scored a run in the sixth inning on a sacrifice fly from third baseman Caleb Lester, who went 2-for-2. Mt. Zion shortstop Louie Leake played well, going 2-for-4 and making stellar defensive plays.
Mt. Zion couldn't get Eagles' center fielder T.J. Taylor out Monday night. Taylor was a home run away from hitting for the cycle, going 3-for-3 with a walk. He also scored three runs and had two runs batted in.
Eagle's Landing pitchers Adam Fine and Michael Sanders held Mt. Zion in check for the most part. Fine went five innings, giving up two runs on five hits. He walked one and struck out six. Sanders pitched the last two innings, allowing three hits, one walk and three strikeouts.
"The good thing about this win is that it puts us in the hunt with Henry County for the region lead," said Eagles head coach Blake Lyons. "I'm real proud of the guys. We put the ball in play and we didn't strike out."