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Baseball: Freshman helps Eagles hold off Bulls

By Richard Greene | Published Saturday, April 15, 2017
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RUNDOWN – Decatur’s Logan Mitchell tries to avoid Bridgeport’s Hayden Sutherland in Tuesday’s baseball action. Messenger Photo by Joe Duty

Eddie Fernandez put the Decatur Eagles in front of the Bridgeport Bulls with a two-run single in the second inning Tuesday. The freshman third baseman protected the lead with his glove.

With the bases loaded and one out in the fifth inning, Fernandez charged in on a high chopper and made a pinpoint throw to the plate. A batter later the Eagles were out of the jam and on the way to the 3-1 victory over the Bulls.

“It was bang bang play. As soon as I fielded it, I saw the runner going home,” Fernandez said. “I probably threw it a little too hard, but I knew Tucker [DuBois] could handle it.”

The victory ended the Eagles’ three-game slide in District 9-4A. Decatur (17-8) moved to 4-3 in district heading into Thursday’s game at Gainesville.

“Three in a row is tough when you have a good ball club,” said Decatur coach Brian Tickell. “We were able to come out and grind out a win against a rival.”

The Bulls (10-14) fell to 1-6 in 9-4A, heading into Friday’s game against Krum.

“We’ve got to win three straight and hope some bad things happen for other people,” said Bridgeport coach Ted Leps. “For our kids, the goal is the same as it’s been for eight straight years. Hopefully we’ll take care of Krum and get one from Argyle.”

Conner Holzer gave the Bulls an opportunity with a solid showing on the mound. Holzer limited Decatur to just four hits, striking out three and walking two. He threw only 74 pitches in six innings.

“He’s struggled all year to get his curve ball over, but he’s doing it just enough that people have to look for it,” Leps said. “He was mixing the ball in and out. He’s another of the guys that’s learning how to pitch.”

Holzer’s only struggles came in the three-run second inning, giving up a single and walk before a RBI-double to Tucker DuBois. Fernandez then hit the two-run single to left.

“That was a big base knock,” Tickell said.

Wilson Hicks, who threw a no-hitter against Bridgeport in the first matchup, allowed a pair of hits and unearned run in the first inning. Jake Martinez singled in a run after a Decatur error.

Hicks allowed four hits, giving up only that unearned run in five innings with two walks and five strikeouts.

He got into trouble in the fifth after hitting the leadoff hitter and walking a batter. Michael Cole loaded the bases with a bunt single.

Hicks then jammed Ethan Herschler, who cued the chopper to Fernandez.

“We’ve been working hard with Eddie on charging the ball. That was big to get the out at home to prevent a big inning,” Tickell said.

“He’s a heck of a player. That’s why he’s on varsity as a freshman. He competes and wants to do well.”

Jaxon Terrell threw two scoreless innings in relief to pick up the save and bring an end to the Eagles’ recent slide.

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