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Eagles lock in district opener

By Clay Corbett | Published Saturday, March 23, 2013

Erik Elder made sure there was no way Decatur (5-12, 1-0) lost their district opener at Gainesville (5-9, 0-1) Tuesday. The senior tossed seven shutout innings and delivered a RBI double in a 2-0 victory.

“He did a great job, and he’s done it all year,” Decatur coach Chris Carter said about Elder’s performance. “He’s thrown strikes, worked batters and given us a chance to win all season.

DIVING BACK - Decatur's Michael Hicks slides back to first base Tuesday during the Eagles' district-opening win over Gainesville. Messenger photo by Clay Corbett

DIVING BACK – Decatur’s Michael Hicks slides back to first base Tuesday during the Eagles’ district-opening win over Gainesville. Messenger photo by Clay Corbett

“We played good defense behind him and didn’t make any mistakes in the field.”

The Eagles got both of their runs in the fourth. With one out, Christain Carrillo reached on an infield single.

Elder was the next batter and immediately delivered a double to right center field, giving Decatur a 1-0 lead.

“He’s one of our leading hitters,” Carter said. “We’ve been waiting for that moment to have that one big hit. We’ve had several times throughout the year, that we just need that one hit, and some games might have been different.”

Joey Cantu then reached on an error by Gainesville’s Denzel Johnson, allowing Elder to score from second.

Gainesville pitcher Chance Sikes retired the next two batters to get out of the inning.

The Leopards had their best scoring opportunity in the first. With one out, Jordan Hall was hit by a pitch. Johnson struck out, followed by a two-out single by Tag Sparks.

Elder then got Sikes to line out to center to end the threat.

Gainesville never got a runner in scoring position the rest of the night. Elder dominated the rest of the way, striking out 10.

Decatur had a chance to add to their lead in the seventh when Cain Lowe walked to begin the inning. Nick Trachta hit a long fly ball to right field that was mishandled in the outfield, putting runners on second and third with nobody out.

With Reid Metcalf at the plate, Lowe missed a sign on a safety squeeze at third base and got caught at home. Metcalf eventually struck out followed by a Clayton Egle punchout to end the threat.

Despite the late-inning disappointment, Carter was glad to get the district opener on the road.

“This was a huge win,” Carter said. “This is not the same Gainesville team. They had a very good pitcher. He had good velocity and command. I was pleased we were able to hit a very good pitcher tonight.”

The Eagles will travel to Bridgeport Tuesday.

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