Eupora claims opening round series at home
A year ago Eupora head coach Clayton Dodd watched his team walk off the field for the final time on senior night at home with a win, but a losing record was realized.
The Eagles won nine games that year, but left that night feeling good about their future with the junior class leading the way.
That junior class became seniors and leaders of the team as Claude Herard, Connor Hood, Coley Tabb, Cade Farley and Will Cooper were determined for better things. In their own senior night on Thursday, they won their 16th game and advanced to the second round of the playoffs after a 18-1 win over O’Bannon capped a doubleheader blowout in just three innings.
“These kids don’t understand the impact that they’re leaving behind for these underclassmen coming up," Dodd said. "I’m very proud of our seniors this year. Every one of them that have touched the field have made an impact.”
In the second game, the senior Herard was incredibly productive in limited chances going 2-for-2 with four RBI and a triple. Though it wasn’t the last home game of his career, it was certainly fulfilling for Herard to have that type of game.
“It felt good,” Herard said of his performance. “I’m blessed to be able to do that and I’m thankful for all of the guys that have played with me.”
Eupora also had two hits and three RBI from Dumas and two RBI on two hits from Cade Farley. Farley also was the starting pitcher throwing two innings with just two hits, one run and two walks while striking out four batters.
Both of the hits off of Farley came in the first two batters he faced and then a groundout scored a run in the first inning as O’Bannon had an early 1-0 lead. That was the only offense O'Bannon saw in the game.
The Eagles came back with a 10-run bottom of the first as 14 batters came to the plate. Herard broke the game open when he tripled home three runs in the gap in left center and Eupora had the commanding 10-1 lead.
In the second, the runs continued for the Eagles as they scored eight more. Like Herard before him, Dustin Cabaniss sent a three-run triple to left field after pinch hitting and led the way for the 18-1 lead.
Brett May came in to pitch the final inning and worked around a hit and a walk by striking out the side and ended the game early.
“I told our guys that the biggest thing they could do was to give 100 percent effort and come out with a bang, so we could get round one out of the way and focus further,” Dodd said. “I’m proud of the seniors for sure. The guys competed hard.”
The second round of the playoffs beckon for the Eagles (16-4) next Friday as they will face off with the winner of Strayhorn and Mantachie, which is a series that begins tonight.
Eupora 15, O’Bannon 1
Things were just as rough for O’Bannon in game one of the doubleheader as ace pitcher Tanner Knight was strong and the visitors couldn’t throw strikes.
O’Bannon called for the game after three innings before the run-rule went into effect.
Knight threw all three frames for the Eagles and gave up two hits, one walk and one run while striking out seven batters. Five of those batters came in the last two innings as Knight bore down following a bit of a rocky start.
Just as it did in game two, O’Bannon started with the 1-0 lead as Knight loaded up the bases and then threw a wild pitch to surrender a run.
Eupora answered back with a vengeance in the bottom of the first inning as the first seven batters reached before the first out. The Eagles were in full control up 8-1 going to the second and they added another eight runs the next time up highlighted by Knight’s two-run in the park home run and that gave way to their 15-1 final.
To go with his performance on the mound, Knight was 2-for-3 at the plate with three RBI, a home run and a double. Donovan Turner and Dumas each had one hit and drove in two runs each with Hood finishing 2-for-2.