For the second time in three years the Elsberry Indians are District Champions.
After a first round bye the Indians took care of business against Clopton and Barat Academy to secure the Class 2 District 5 Championship.
“It feels really good to win that title,” said Coach Shannon Wells. “The kids did a good job coming together and playing as a team. I could not be more proud of them.”
Barat Academy Eagles
In the title game the Indians faced off against Barat Academy, a team up until Tuesday night they had never seen in person and according to Wells there can be a lot of unknowns when playing a team they have not seen before.
“We did get to watch them play against Louisiana after our game against Clopton,” said Wells. “We were able to get some good notes on the tendencies of their hitters. The biggest unknown was what their pitcher was going to be like. We did not know if he was going to be a hard-thrower or more crafty.”
It didn’t take long for the Indians to get a feel for Barat Academy’s starter Ryan Meyer, as they jumped out to a 4-0 lead after two innings.
In the first Dylan Howard led off the Indians first at bat with a single. He advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Matt Henry and then scored on a single by Michael Ligon. The Indians starting pitcher Kyle Eisenbath then singled putting runners on first and third. Caleb Eisenbath laced a single to the outfield scoring Ligon for their second run.
When asked about the performance of Ogden and Ligon (combined 5-9) Coach Wells said “I thought those guys did a real good job. Jay and Michael have been the core of our line-up throughout the year and we have looked to them to score runs.”
After a scoreless top of the second for the Eagles, Elsberry was at it again with a lead-off single from Alex Henke, who proceeded to steal second and later score on a single from Matt Henry. Henry crossed the plate for the fourth run after Ligon hit his second single in two innings.
For the first three innings Kyle Eisenbath was shutting down the Eagles allowing no runs on only two hits. However, Barat Academy was able to get on the board with a walk, an error and a single in the fourth, followed by two more runs in the fifth cutting Elsberry’s lead to 4-3.
“Kyle did a real good job throwing strikes and letting his defense work behind him,” said Wells.
The Indians answered back in their bottom of the fifth as the Senior All-Conference members Jay Ogden and Ligon delivered back-to-back doubles scoring their fifth run of the game. In the sixth Elsberry added two more from Henke and Howard who scored on another double from Ogden to carry a 7-3 lead into the last inning.
Coach Wells also commented on the play Howard, Henry and Henke. “Dylan has been a very good lead-off hitter for us and helped us get started early or works a count when it is needed. Matt Henry is a good #2 hitter. He can put the ball in play or lay down a bunt if you ask him to. Henke has really been solid for us in the lower part of the line-up. He does a good job putting the ball in play and making the defense try to make a play.”
After Josh Phillips and Howard pitched in relief the game was turned over to Chris Hency in the seventh after two runs had already scored by Barat Academy, cutting the lead 7-5.
Hency proceeded to strike out the next three hitters to get the save and secure the 7-5 Championship victory.
“After Barat hit the double to score two and make it 7-5, I knew it would important for Chris to get the next batter out to get his confidence back,” said Wells. “The player he struck out (Jackson Burns) is a good hitter and that gave Chris what he needed to bear down and get the other two hitters.”
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H
Barat Academy 0 0 0 1 2 0 2 5 7
ELSBERRY 2 2 0 0 1 2 X 7 13
WP – Kyle Eisenbath
S – Chris Hency
Offense: Dylan Howard (3-4, 2R, 1RBI); Matt Henry (1-2, 1R, 1RBI); Jay Ogden (2-3, 2 2B, 1R, 1RBI); Michael Ligon (3-4, 2B, 1R, 3RBI, SB); Kyle Eisenbath (1-3); Caleb Eisenbath (1-3, 1RBI); Alex Henke (2-3, 2R, SB)
After a first round bye the Indians faced off against a familiar foe, the Clopton Hawks, who they had just lost 7-2 the week prior.
This time, however, the Indians starting pitcher Phillips was masterful on the mound allowing just three runs in the seventh inning getting the 6-3 win.
“Josh did a really good job on the mound,” said Wells. “He was spotting his pitches well and he did not put people on base. He was very efficient only throwing 80 pitches.”
Phillips struck out five, allowing only six hits and walking one.
Offensively for the Indians it was the Eisenbath brothers show as they were a combined 4-7 with two runs scored and two RBI’s.
“It was important for that part of our line-up to hit the ball and score some runs,” said Wells. “Overall, I think our offense has been doing well. We are getting timely hitting and everyone seems to be contributing.”
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 R H
Clopton 0 0 0 0 0 0 3 3 6
ELSBERRY 0 0 0 2 2 2 X 6 11
WP – Josh Phillips
Offense: Dylan Howard (1-3, 1R); Matt Henry (2-4, 1R); Jay Ogden (1-2, 1R); Michael Ligon (0-1, 3BB); Kyle Eisenbath (1-3, 1R, 1BB); Caleb Eisenbath (2-3, 1R, 1RBI); Alex Henke (2-3, 1RBI); Grant Black (2-3).