By Nathan Hutchinson
Register Sports Editor
This time, the Eagles weren’t going to let a victory slip away.
Madison Southern scored a run in the seventh inning to tie the game, then pushed across a run in the ninth inning to earn a 6-5 victory over 44th District rival Berea Community.
Andrew Evans singled and scored the game-winning run as the Eagles (3-21) snapped an eight-game losing streak.
“This the first time all year we’ve showed some fight,” Southern coach Dusty Hon said. “We didn’t hang our heads. We made plenty of mistakes, but we didn’t give up. We stayed focused, for the most part.”
This district showdown was a battle.
Southern got a run in the first, then added two more in the third. Berea battled back and got a run in the third and another in the fourth.
Still, the Eagles pushed back out to a two-run lead in the fifth when Evans reached on an error and scored.
Berea answered back, scoring three times in the sixth inning to take its first lead of the game. Jon Smith reached on an error, Sean Long singled and Bradley Atkins doubled in a run.
Long scored on a wild pitch, tying the game and Atkins later scored on a single by Devin Strong.
Norris Griffen, a sophomore, started for Southern and went 5 1/3 innings. Eason Shouse came on in relief and despite giving up a Strong’s go-ahead it, got out of the inning without any further damage.
The freshman pitched the final 3 2/3 innings, giving up only two hits and a walk.
“We had a sophomore and freshman out there,” Hon said. “Eason had icewater in his veins to come into that situation.”
Junior left-hander Gabe Long went seven innings for Berea before Daniel Wilkerson came on to pitch the final two innings.
After Southern took the lead in the top of the ninth, Berea put together one last rally. Hunter Wilson singled and after Shouse got the next two batters, the Berea third baseman was picked off at second base.
Evans was 2-for-4 with a walk and scored four times. Devin Vanover had a hit and scored a run, while Norris walked three times and Chris Anderson walked three times and was hit by a pitch.
“I’m awfully proud of them,” Hon said. “They faced a very tough pitcher and he had us off balance, but we were able to stay with him until he ran out of juice. They did what it took to win.”
Atkins had four hits for Berea and scored a run. Sean Long was 3-for-4 and scored twice, while Smith had a hit and scored a run.
Southern is set to return to action Thursday at Harrison County.
Berea (11-7) is set to return to action Monday against Rockcastle County.