Ellison head coach Ty Oppermann admitted that Tuesday night’s district-opener wasn’t pretty, but the Eagles got the win.
Behind starter Edward Eakin’s six strong innings, the Eagles held on to defeat Shoemaker 3-2. The sophomore Eakin allowed only two singles while striking out five Grey Wolves.
“He had a little trouble early on of locating his pitches. Every umpire has a different zone, so he had to establish himself and adjust to the umpire’s zone,” Oppermann said.
“As young pitcher, that is hard to adjust at such an early age, but he did a good job of that. That shows some maturity out of a sophomore pitcher to be able to work in different spots over the plate.”
Shoemaker got things started early in the top of the first when lead-off hitter Jose Hernandez reached on a walk. With two outs, pinch runner Juan Trevino came around to score on cleanup hitter Joel Encarnacion’s bloop single to shallow center field.
Ellison (8-8- 1, 1-0) answered in the bottom half of the frame when the first three hitters walked to load the bases. After a strikeout, Kenneth Rodriguez delivered a sacrifice fly to center field, which scored Julien Jimenez.
The Eagles got creative with pinch runner Ty Cosper at third and Eakin at first. Eakin decided to break to second, and Cosper decided to dash home to score as the throw arrived just after Cosper had crossed home to score the second Eagles run of the inning. The home team had a 2-1 lead after the first inning, without manufacturing a hit.
In the bottom of the second, Ellison had another scoring opportunity with a runner at third and one out, Jimenez hit a fly ball to right field that was caught by Jesus Encarnacion, who made a sliding catch and stood up and fired a dart to home to nail an Eagle baserunner trying to score from third.
For Shoemaker (2-10, 0-1), Jose Hernandez gave the Grey Wolves five quality innings, followed by Burt Cruz for the final two innings.
“Jose competed really well,” Shoemaker coach Robert Conley said. “He didn’t have his best stuff to start, but as the game went along, he got stronger and started to locate his pitches a lot better.
“He kept us in the game all night.”
Ellison produced an insurance run in the bottom of the fourth when William Tunstall and Brian Gardner walked and Christian Almandoz bunted the runners up a base with one out.
Leadoff hitter Jimenez reached on an error and scored Tunstall for the difference in the game.
Tunstall reached base all three times at the plate by going 2 for 2 with a single, double and walk.
In the seventh, Garet Douglas came on in relief of Eakin and retired the side with a pair of strikeouts to complete the win.
“You have to give Shoemaker credit because they left our runners on base,” Oppermann said.
“They worked out of jams and did a great job defensively on us.”