By Austin Bishop
The Webster Progress-Times
Nothing brings a smile to the Eupora High School head baseball coach Brad Mitchell’s face like seeing his team’s hard work pay off. Mitchell has been doing a lot of smiling lately.
The Eupora High School Eagles used dominant pitching, strong defense and clutch hitting to take a 4-0, 3-2 sweep over Strayhorn in the second round of the MHSAA Class 2A State Playoffs last week and now are just two wins away from playing for a North State title.
Up next for the Eagles is a strong foe in the form of the Baldwyn Bearcats. Eupora is set to visit Baldwyn in game one of the best-of-three series at 6 p.m. on Friday, before hosting the Bearcats at 1 p.m. on Saturday. A third game, if necessary, will be played Monday at 6 p.m. in Baldwyn.
“We have just been playing strong fundamental baseball,” Mitchell said. “The pitching has been good. We have really developed as a team as the season has gone along and I’ve really enjoyed watching it and being a part of it. It’s all about the guys. They are playing hard and doing what they need to do.”
Rusty Johnson was lights out on the mound in Thursday’s opener at Strayhorn. He struck out 14 batters in seen innings of work, allowing only two hits and one walk in the process.
Offensively, Eupora was led by Will Bowen with a double and a single and Corson Gunn with a pair of singles and two RBIs. Joshua Rollins had a single and RBI, while Lamarcus Caradine had a hit as well.
The second game saw the homestanding Eagles score twice in the first inning and once in the second and then hold off Strayhorn for the 3-2 win. EHS had five hits in the contest, as did Strayhorn.
Trey Pittman allowed just five hits, two earned runs and a walk in a complete game performance on the mound for Eupora, while also banging out a double and driving in a run at the plate. Johnson, Bowen, Lawson Stewart and Claude Herard all had singles for the winners.
Tyler Stovall had a homer, single and two RBIs to lead Strayhorn.
After receiving a first-round bye, Baldwyn swept Calhoun City 9-4, 7-3 to set up the third-round match-up with Eupora.