With their backs against the wall and facing elimination, the Urchins’ offense delivered in back-to-back games, winning its playoff series with Hatley and advancing to the north half championship.
Last Thursday, the Urchins were held to only three hits, as Russ Johnson earned the win on the mound, 3-0. In that game, the Tigers would score on back-to-back RBI singles in the first and later in the fourth inning.
“Baseball is a funny game,” East Union head coach Chris Basil said. “I felt we really came into that game ready and prepared, but their pitcher did a tremendous job of shutting us down. Our backs were against the wall, and we needed to step up.”
Doing so in both Saturday’s game two and in the decisive game three on Monday, the Urchins’ bats came alive in the 13-0 and 11-1 run rule games.
On Saturday, Trey Barkley and Austin Basil each had three hits, and Barkley had four RBI to lead East Union’s offense. Three more Urchin batters had multiple hits, and East Union forced game three at home on Monday night.
East Union went ahead 2-0 after the first, as Dustin Pratt hit an RBI double, and Cody Bo Dillard brought in the second run on a sacrifice fly out .
Ahead 2-0, East Union would score two more runs in the third before Hatley scored its lone run in the top of the fourth. In the bottom half, East Union’s offense once again came alive, scoring five runs to take the 9-1 lead, and the Urchins would later end the game on an error with bases loaded that plated two runs in the fifth.
Barkley, Pratt and Dillard each had two hits to lead East Union in the win. Over the two games, East Union’s offense scored 24 runs and had as many hits, while only allowing one run.
“In all of the years that I’ve been doing this, I would have to say that this is the best offensive team that I’ve ever had,” Basil said. “We’ve played a tremendous schedule, and we knew we would not have a good record as a result. They’ve truly stepped up this year.”
Next for the Urchins is the north half championships, where they will either face Calhoun City or division foe, Baldwyn.
“We’re extremely excited,” Basil said. “Either way, we have a good team in front of us, and it is our job as coaches to prepare them over the next couple of days for what’s next.”
The north half championship series is set to begin on Thursday.