Americus Times-Recorder, Americus, Georgia

Local Sports

April 11, 2012

Marion County overcomes a seven run deficit to take down AA Manchester High

MANCHESTER — The Marion County Eagles traveled to Manchester on Monday evening to try and knock off the AA Manchester Blue Devils. Despite falling behind the Blue Devils 11-4, the Eagles mounted a furious comeback to take the lead in the last inning, and they held off the Blue Devils’ offensive attack in the bottom half of the last inning to earn a 13-12 victory.

The Eagles took an early lead as they scored three runs in the top of the first inning. Brandon Dumas plated Dustin Eckert with an RBI, and Taylor Barrett brought home Dumas and Dylan Price. Although the Eagles would take the early 3-0 lead, Manchester would answer in the bottom half of the first inning with three runs of their own.

Manchester would then add three more runs in the third inning, and a run in the fourth inning to jump out to  7-3 lead. A McClellan solo home run would make the score 7-4, but the Blue Devils would add four more runs in the fifth inning to stretch their lead to 11-4.

At this point, it would have been easy for the Eagles to lay down and give the Blue Devils the game. It appeared that the game was over with the Blue Devils up seven runs with only two innings left to play.

The Eagles were not quitting though, and they mounted a furious comeback in their half of the sixth inning. Brandon Connor led off the inning with a double to give the Eagles a runner in scoring position. Following a Dustin Eckert walk, Ryan Howell hit a single which scored Connor. McClellan then brought home Eckert with a double, and gave the Eagles two more runners in scoring position.

After a walk to Price loaded the bases, Barrett scorched a single and brought home two more Eagles in Howell and McClellan. Austin Mitchell then came to the plate and brought home two more runs on a single to make the score 11-10 with one inning left to play.

Eckert, now on the mound, retired the three Manchester hitters in order to send the Eagles to the plate in the seventh and final inning trailing by one run.

In the top half of the seventh, the Eagles would score three runs to take the lead from the Blue Devils. Ryan Howell led off the inning with a single, and Jake McTaggart reached base by way of an error. McClellan then came to the plate an continued his huge night by doubling to score two more runs. Dillon Lane capped off the Eagles’ scoring by doubling in McClellan.

The Eagles had a 13-11 lead going into the bottom half of the last inning. Howell would come on in the save opportunity for Marion, and despite giving up one run, he would slam the door on the Blue Devils’ hopes and seal the 13-12 win for the Eagles.

Dustin Eckert earned the win for the Eagles on the mound, going two innings and giving up no runs and only one hit. He also struck out two and did not surrender a walk. Howell got the save for the Eagles by pitching the seventh inning.

“This was a huge comeback for the young Eagles,” said Marion County head coach Luke Jernigan. “They continue to get better with more experience under their belt. I am so proud of the fight of these young mean,” he added.

The Eagles will return home at 5 p.m. on Friday, April 13 to take on the Chattahoochee County Panthers in a key region game. The Eagles dropped their first match-up with the Panthers in Cusseta, so they will be looking for revenge.

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