SAVANNA – Sometimes large, towering hits can’t help but be marveled at, even if it is the other team doing the hitting.
During the third inning of the Eastland Junior Boys’ tournament championship game July 11 against Milledgeville at Old Mill Park, the Eastland outfielders stood and stared at Connor Nye’s rocket of a hit to the gap in right-center field with Tristan Green on second base. Nye made it around the bases for a two-run, inside-the-park home run and a one-run lead.
That was the only mistake Eastland made in the game, and the minor blemish did nothing to spoil a perfect 12-0 season, after they came back to win 11-2.
Cole Huber proceeded to strike out seven of the next nine Milledgeville batters after Nye’s hit, and finished with 11 strikeouts in the win.
“We all played as a team,” Huber said. “We always stuck together, always try to keep the bat on the ball, and never give up.”
Kolby Diestelmier’s bases-loaded infield hit in the first inning put Eastland on the board first. He also drove in the game-tying run in the third inning with a single to right field. After back-to-back doubles by Tanner Stern and Huber, Brady Sweitzer drove both of them in with a single to left-center field for a 4-2 lead.
“The first couple of times, I really didn’t get [the ball in play],” Sweitzer said. “The last time with the hit, that made the game for me, and that’s all I needed to do to help out my team right there, to get that hit.”
Eastland scored seven runs in the fifth inning to put the game away.
Head coach Craig Huber’s team outscored opponents 88-27 during the regular season. They beat Pearl City July 10 to advance to the championship.
“Right from the beginning, the kids all played together as a team,” Coach Huber said. “They all get along and they all help each other out. They’re united like a true team, and that’s what’s made it easy and fun to be a part of.”
Milledgeville finished 8-4 on the season.