Harvesters end championship bid

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Photo by James Hartley/The Et Cetera Eastfield closing pitcher Brandon Saddler sits alone on the first base line after giving up the game-losing RBI as cheering Brookhaven players leaves the field. The game was Saddler’s last with the Harvesters.

By James Hartley

After pounding the Brookhaven College Bears 11-1 Friday, the Eastfield Harvesters fell twice Saturday, wiping their hopes of a championship bid and ending their season. This was the last season for short stop Casey Maack, pitcher Brandon Saddler and third baseman Connor Scruggs.

The team went in with a 20 game winning streak behind them, seeded No. 1 in the NJCAA District C Baseball Tournament. They ended their season 39-15 in Metro Athletic Conference championship and 24-6 in league play.

The Harvesters beat out Brookhaven Friday with the ten run rule by ending the sixth inning with ten more runs than their opponents. However, a walk off single to right field in their Saturday night game against Brookhaven would be the final blow in the double elimination tournament.

The Harvesters started off Saturday with a 5-3 loss to reigning champions, the Tyler Apaches.

Harvesters’ left one stranded on second in the bottom of the first against the Apaches and gave up one run to their opponent in the top of the second.

In the bottom of the second inning, second baseman Trey Stone hit an RBI single, bringing first baseman Trey Bedrick in from third base, tying the score at 1.

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In the top of the fifth inning, the Harvesters’ starting pitcher Evan Rogers was relieved by right hander Sam Butler after giving up two singles, a walk and one run in that inning.

Butler, coming in one run down, gave up another single, three runs, and a walk before ending the inning with a fly ball to third for a double play, catching the second base runner returning to second, leaving the score at 5-1 Apaches.

James Hartley/The Et Cetera Eastfield short stop Casey Maack scrambles to prevent a wild throw from allowing the Apaches to score a run on May 21 as an Apache player slides in to steal second.
James Hartley/The Et Cetera Eastfield shortstop Casey Maack scrambles to prevent a wild throw from allowing the Apaches to score a run on May 21 as an Apache player slides in to steal second.

Right Fielder Jared Thompson gave the Harvesters their second run in the bottom of the eighth with a drive double out to left center, bringing in center fielder Joseph Sanchez to score.

Scruggs brought in the Harvesters’ third and final RBI with a ground rule double, the ball out to right field bouncing over the wall, to bring Thompson in to score. Maack’s fly ball to right field was the last out in the inning, cutting the Harvesters’ rally to two runs with a runner left stranded in scoring position.

The game ended with the Apaches up 5-3

In their Saturday game against the Brookhaven Bears, the Harvesters scored their only two runs in the top of the first inning, and gave up two runs in the seventh inning to tie the game. A walk off single in the bottom of the tenth would end the game with Brookhaven up 3-2.

Designated hitter Austin Mettica and Maack each managed an RBI in the first inning against Brookhaven. Mettica drove in Scruggs with a double with a ground ball to right field. Maack brought in Mettica with a ground ball triple to left center.

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A fly ball dropped by left fielder Dre Malcom  in the bottom seventh with two outs gave the Bears their first RBI. An RBI single in that inning tied the game and sent it into extra innings.

The Bears closed the game with a walk off single in the bottom of the ninth.

“You’ve still got the most important thing: your character,” coach Michael Martin told his team after the game. “I’m proud of all of you and the season we had.”

Maack, who will be transferring to Southern Mississippi for the 2016-2017 academic year, said he has his coaches and his team to thank for his accomplishments with the Harvesters.

“I’ve learned about more than just baseball here,” Maack said. “This is a family to me.”

Scruggs, who is leaving Eastfield this year, said he doesn’t regret anything about his time with the team.

“I’ve loved every moment,” Scruggs said. “I love [my coaches and team].”

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