Sam Stephens batted 3-for-4 with two RBIs, three doubles and two runs scored to lead the Indians (8-3, 2-1 Region 4AAAAAA), who took advantage of six hits, five walks, three wild pitches, one error, a passed ball, one hit batsman and 11 stolen bases.
“Sam plays his best every at-bat,” McEachern coach Dan Torrenti said. “His strength is that he plays every pitch. He plays hard and never gets shook up.”
T.J. Clark was 1-for-2 with two RBIs and two runs scored, while Nick Walker batted 1-for-2 with two RBIs and scored a run. Phil Tucker was also 1-for-2 with two RBIs. Trey Harris picked up an RBI as well.
Stephens had two of McEachern’s 11 steals. Aaron Morris, Maxwell Watkins, Harris, Jared Walker, Jonathan Wells, Dalton Geekie, Nick Walker, Clark and Tucker each had one.
Torrenti emphasized that being aggressive is part of his team’s attitude and makeup.
“One of the strengths of this team is our athleticism,” the first-year coach said, “so stealing bases is something we do when we can, and we try to take advantage of the opportunities that present themselves to us.”
South Cobb (6-5, 1-2) took a 1-0 lead in the first behind Deion Law’s two-out double. He moved to third when Allen Few reached on an error and scored on a passed ball.
McEachern batted through the order in the bottom half of the inning, sending 10 batters to the plate.
Morris and Clark both singled, while Stephens collected a double. An error, six stolen bases, two wild pitches and two walks helped contribute to the five-run total.
Harris’ RBI groundout plated Morris, while Stephens’ double scored Watkins. Clark’s two-run single then scored Stephens and Wells before Nick Walker’s RBI single plated Clark for the 5-1 advantage.
Back-to-back singles from South Cobb’s Jose Bustamonte and Tyler Minkinnen led off the top of the second, and Tyler Randles’ two-out single scored Bustamonte to trim the deficit to the three.
But much like the first inning, McEachern took advantage of the Eagles’ pitching woes and collected five more runs in the second.
Nine batters came to the plate in the frame as Harris, Stephens, Geekie, Clark and Nick Walker all scored. The Indians had two hits and collected three walks, a hit batsman, a wild pitch and a passed ball to plate the runs. McEachern players also stole five bases.
Stephens and Nick Walker each had an RBI in the inning and Tucker’s two-out, two-run single capped the damage.
Jared Walker allowed two runs — one earned — on four hits while striking out three in two innings to earn the win. Reliever B Smith gave up three hits but didn’t give up a run over four innings. Wells pitched the seventh.
Randles singled off Wells in the top of the seventh, and a throwing error moved him to second. Randles reached third on a wild pitch and scored on Law’s RBI single for the 10-3 score.
South Cobb’s Marco Martinez pitched in relief of Josh Sisson and Nate Golden. He gave up three hits but didn’t allow a run over the final 4 1/3 innings.
“I’m not pleased with how we finished the game,” Torrenti said. “South Cobb is a scrappy club. I felt like we didn’t make the adjustments at the plate when we needed to, but, fortunately, our pitcher kept us in it as well.
“It’s a good region win. We don’t take those for granted.”
Randles, Law and Minkinnen each had two hits for South Cobb, with Law and Randle earning RBIs.
“I thought we swung the bats well, but McEachern’s a good defensive team,” South Cobb coach Mark Collins said. “I thought Marco threw strikes and kept us in the game, but we have to have that consistency from start to finish. We have to throw strikes the whole game and we didn’t do that.
“We made a good effort, but McEachern made some nice plays.”