For the first five innings of Thursday’s baseball game it was a dead heat between Bald Eagle Area and Penns Valley.
Tied at 4-4 in the sixth is when the Eagles soared by sending 10 men to the plate for five runs before adding another run in the seventh for the 10-4 victory over the Rams.
“The strong winds made this game quite interesting,” said BEA coach Jim Gardner. “Batted balls that would normally have been routine outs turned into difficult plays. These guys are a confident bunch and they are going to battle hard because they are winners. Although they are confident, sometimes when you get in those tight battles you can go up there (to the plate), have a good at-bat, but get nothing to show for it.
“I was a little concerned how things were going there (through the middle innings), but things turned out well for us.”
Disappointed after the loss, Penns Valley coach Chuck Romig was more agitated in the way it happened.
“They got those three runs in the first because of our mistakes,” said Romig. “If you look at the total game, there were two innings where we beat ourselves. It just seemed like we did everything we could to beat ourselves. We just need to get better.”
The Eagles jumped on top in the first inning on a Ram error, an RBI double by Bryan Greene and a long two-run home run by Ryan Dyke.
Not about to run away and hide, Penns Valley battled back to take the lead with four runs in the second inning. Big hits for the Rams were a two-run single by Taylor Collison, an RBI single by Kevin Butts and a bases-loaded walk issued to Dewey Keller.
BEA tied the game at 4-all in the fourth when Bryce Greene singled to center, stole second and third and scored on an RBI single to left by Dyke.
Big hits for BEA in the five-run sixth inning were RBI singles by Bryce Greene, Bryan Greene and Ryan Guenot. Jason Jones drove in an Eagle run with an RBI groundout.
Dyke had a career day at the plate by going 4-for-5 with a pair of singles and two home runs to finish with four RBIs. Dyke also scored three times to complete his busy and productive day.
“He is looking real good right now,” said Gardner of Dyke. “He struggled a little bit early on, but once he found his way, he has been locked in game in and game out. He is just a heckuva ball player all the way around. He has a nice swing and when he keeps his head down he drives it very well. Defensively, there isn’t anybody better than he is at third base. He is just an outstanding ball player.”
Although Dyke’s day was one of his best this season, he has been a menace at the plate for opposing pitchers for the past month.
“I am seeing the ball well and today, I was able to pick it up real well,” said Dyke. “He (Ram pitcher Cam Tobias) is a control pitcher so you know the ball is going to be somewhere around the plate most of the time. Right now I have a lot of confidence in myself knowing that I can get it done. My teammates are getting on for me to drive them in and they are making plays as well. It is just my job to get solid hits so hopefully they will keep falling in and we can keep winning.”
In addition to Dyke’s onslaught, others who joined the hit parade for the Eagles were the Greene twins and Guenot with two hits each.
While Tobias went the route to absorb the tough loss, his teammates didn’t show much support for him as they committed a total of seven errors.
“He (Tobias) pitched a phenomenal game,” said Romig. “He threw a lot of first-pitch strikes to give him a percentage in the seventies percentage-wise for the first five innings. Strike one, out one is what you have to do if you are going to be successful. That is one of our pitching philosophies and he did exactly that. If we play any kind of defense behind him, we had a good chance to come out on top in that game.”
In addition to his route-going effort on the mound, Tobias led the Rams at the dish with a pair of singles.
While Tobias went the distance for the Rams, the Eagles piggy-backed three pitchers on the bump.
Otis Statham started and was strong for the first four innings other than in the second when he lost the strike zone. On the heels of Statham, Colton Comly worked two scoreless innings before Nate Cleaver closed it out by only allowing a harmless single in the seventh.