SPORTS HEADLINES

Eagles head into 9-3A after wins

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, March 15, 2014

With his team clinging to a one-run lead in the sixth against Springtown Thursday, Nick Trachta finally gave the Decatur Eagles some breathing room.

Trachta rattled the top left-field fence with a line drive that pushed home a run.

Collision at Plate

COLLISION AT PLATE – Decatur’s AJ Johnson slides in for a run for the Eagles as Springtown pitcher Collin Rector tries to cover the plate. The Eagles beat Springtown 7-4 in their final game before the start of 9-3A play Tuesday. Messenger photo by Joe Duty

“I didn’t think it was out. I was just trying to get a sacrifice and score a run,” said Trachta, who went 2-for-3 with the RBI-double. “We left a lot of runners on early. We finally cashed in in the sixth.”

Decatur added two more runs in the three-run inning on Clayton Egle’s single on the way to a 7-4 victory over Springtown at Eagle Field.

“We got a few base hits to score some runs and had some quality at-bats,” said Decatur coach Chris Carter about the sixth inning. “The kids delivered when we needed them to.”

The victory was the second in two days for Decatur and gives the Eagles a little momentum heading into Tuesday’s District 9-3A opener at home against Gainesville. They will enter district at 6-9-2 after an 11-1 win over Gunter Wednesday and the win over Springtown.

“We’re getting things going in a positive direction,” Carter said. “We’ve play a tough non-district schedule. The kids know it’s been tough. We’re looking forward to getting into district play and playing our best baseball.”

Decatur took a lead in the bottom of the first inning, scoring three runs without a hit thanks to Springtown starter Collin Rector’s early wildness. He walked four in the first inning. Josh Jones drew a walk and later scored on a Springtown throwing error with two outs. AJ Johnson and Christian Carrillo, who reached on an error, each came home on a passed ball, to make it 3-1.

Decatur couldn’t extend the lead, stranding runners in each inning, including multiple runners in the second, third and fourth innings. Trachta broke the drought with his shot over the Porcupine left fielder’s head in the sixth after Michael Hicks and Jones led off with walks.

“Nick has the ability to hit with power,” Carter said. “It’d be nice to have seen it go out.”

With the offense missing out on opportunities, Decatur starter Mason Baur made the lead hold up in his four and one-third innings of work. After giving up a run on the leadoff double by Zack Lund in the first, Baur fought his way into the fifth. He allowed another unearned run in the third, but struck out four and walked two while scattering four hits.

AJ Johnson replaced Bauer and held Springtown in check until after Decatur plated the three runs in the bottom of sixth. Johnson then walked the first two batters in the seventh. Both scored on a single by Ryan Hester off Josh Jones.

Jones then got a pair of popouts around a grounder to third to end the ballgame.

“I don’t think we had a high enough ball-to-strike rate, but [our pitchers] kept us in the game,” Carter said. “We need to throw more strikes.”

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