By Jeffery Armstrong
It was another day at the office for the Eagle's Landing Golden Eagles' baseball team Wednesday night.
The Golden Eagles overcame intense rain and a muddy field to defeat the Fayette County Tigers 7-2 in game one of the second round of the Class AAAAA state playoffs. The second game of the best-of-three series was postponed due to rain n it will be played as part of a doubleheader today at 5 p.m.
"We're just 18 guys that go to work, playing the game of baseball as hard as we can," said Eagles' head coach Blake Lyons. "Kudos to my guys for the win against a real good Fayette team n they deserve everything they get."
Nathan Christenson fought soggy conditions to pitch a complete-game four-hitter for Eagle's Landing, which improves to a school-record 20-8. He allowed two runs, struck out one and walked six. He had a no-hitter going for four innings, until Tigers' right fielder Blake Mask ripped a solid single up the middle in the bottom of the fifth.
"I was pumped up and prepared to play this game," said Christenson. "I tried to hit my spots despite the muddy mound and the wet ball."
The Eagles jumped on Fayette starting pitcher Lee Hyde (6 2/3 innings, six earned runs on eight hits, six walks, six strikeouts) in the top of the second inning as a steady rain started to fall. Luke Murton walked, Michael Sanders singled and Christenson walked to load the bases. After a strikeout, Adam Fine and T.J. Taylor singled, driving home Murton and Sanders for a 2-0 lead. Fine went 2-for-4, with a run scored and an RBI.
Eagles' catcher Nick Allen (1-for-3, two RBIs) then ripped a two-run single for a 4-0 Eagles lead, which turned out to be the game-winning hit.
"I just tried to put the ball in play and get some runs home," said Allen, a senior.
After Eagles third baseman Matt Glass homered in the top of the fifth for a 5-0 score, Fayette (23-5) finally dented the scoreboard in the bottom half of the fifth. Christenson seemed to become unsettled after Mask ripped his single. With a runner on first, he gave up consecutive singles to center fielder Jeff Crisp and left fielder Steven West to cut the Eagle lead to 5-1. After Christenson walked third baseman Joe Edens to load the bases, the senior hurler walked Hyde for Fayette's second run of the contest. Glass (2-for-4, two runs, two RBIs) singled in Allen and scored on an error by West in the top of the seventh for a 7-2 Eagles lead when the game was delayed 42 minutes for rain. After the delay, the Eagles held firm, ending the game on an unassisted double play turned by shortstop Blake Austin. Eagle's Landing turned two double plays in the game. Lyons praised his pitchers after the game.