Another tilt between Ellison and Shoemaker brought another tight decision on the diamond.
After edging the Grey Wolves 3-2 on Tuesday, the Eagles found themselves in a bit of a bind Friday. Down by a run, Shoemaker had runners on first and second with just one out in the bottom of the seventh, looking to either tie or win the game.
But Ellison pitcher Garet Douglas induced a grounder back to the mound and started a 1-6-3 double play to end the contest and give the Eagles a narrow 6-5 District 8-6A victory.
To start the home half of the seventh, the Grey Wolves’ Joel Encarnacion was hit by a pitch before Douglas registered a strikeout. Auston Christoff then blooped a single to shallow right field to put two runners on for Shoemaker, but Douglas and company were able to end the threat with the game’s only double play at just the right time.
Douglas relieved starting pitcher Preston Mills in the top of the fifth inning. He pitched the final three frames, allowing only Christoff’s single in the seventh while striking out five for his second save in as many games.
“Garet is due to hit at least one or two guys,” Ellison head coach Ty Oppermann joked. “But you can’t fluster the young man — he’s just so calm. He was that way the last two years as a starting pitcher, and now we’ve got the two big sophomores with (Edward) Eakin and Preston throwing well.
“Now, he can take on that closer role, and he loves it. He doesn’t fluster.”
Shoemaker head coach Robert Conley said he felt his team played good enough to win, but just didn’t come out on top Friday.
“I thought the boys battled hard and did what we asked them to do,” Conley said. “We had a few things that didn’t go our way, but that’s part of the game and we have to find a way to overcome it. You have to give the other team a lot of credit, turning a big double play at the end to win it.
“That’s what you have to do is make plays.”
Despite recording only three hits, the Grey Wolves were very patient at the plate. They drew seven walks against Mills in the first four-plus innings and scored five runs.
The Eagles (8-8- 1, 2-0 8-6A) tallied eight hits in the contest, and they put the first notch on the scoreboard in the top of the first on an RBI single to left by Kenneth Rodriguez.
A bases-loaded walk by Edward Eakin scored William Tunstall in the second to put Ellison up 2-0.
In the bottom of the third, however, Shoemaker (2-11, 0-2) tied it up on consecutive bases-loaded walks to Christoff and Dontoneo Williams.
The Grey Wolves took the lead in the fourth inning on an RBI groundout by Bert Cruz, but the Eagles replied with four runs in the top of the fifth for a 6-3 advantage. Mills grounded a single up the middle to score two runs, Rodriguez powered an RBI triple to right-center field and Alijha Alford hit a sacrifice fly to center.
Shoemaker immediately responded in the bottom of the fifth with two runs to make the score 6-5 in favor of Ellison. Joel Encarnacion scored on a wild pitch, and Jesus Encarnacion grounded out to shortstop to score Maker Nena from third.
But the Grey Wolves threat in the seventh was thwarted, and Ellison escaped with a hard-fought road win.
At the plate, Rodriguez was 2 for 4 for the Eagles with two RBIs and one run scored. Eakin was 2 for 2 with two walks, an RBI and a run scored, and Tunstall was 1 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
“I think they just relaxed a little too much and our swings got a little long with the wind at our back,” Oppermann said of his team in the middle innings. “I think we tried to put a couple out of the park instead of doing the little fundamental things that helped us out early on. Then we came back in and I refocused them.
“They don’t like that part of me, but we started swinging the bat again and doing some good things.”
For Shoemaker, Christoff was 2 for 2 with a walk and an RBI.
Both teams are scheduled to return to the field Tuesday. Ellison travels to San Angelo to face Central at 4:30 p.m., and the Grey Wolves host Copperas Cove at 7 p.m.