EUPORA – Those looking for drama in Eupora's home opener against Ackerman Friday night left disappointed.
The Eagles used an eight-run rally in the first inning to set the tone for a mercy-rule shortened 12-2 win over the division rival Indians.
"We've been hitting the ball fairly well here lately just by being disciplined and getting our pitch," said Eupora head coach Lee Berryhill. "(Friday) we stayed the same way. We didn't square up everything, but the ones we did were hard hits and the others were bloopers that just fell right for us in that first inning."
The primary beneficiary of all the early offense was Eupora starting pitcher Jeremy Wright.
Wright, who also went 2-for-3 at the plate with a walk and three runs scored, went on to record the win for the Eagles as a result of his complete-game effort.
"It's easy (to pitch) like that, when you're up early by eight runs," said Wright. "There really isn't any pressure on you. All you have to do is pitch the ball and if they put it in play, the defense behind you will make plays."
The only runs Wright surrendered came in the top of the third inning. In that frame, Ackerman's Dakota Brasher recorded a one-out single just before Wright beaned the following batter Bo Reid.
Both runners ended up scoring, Brasher on Nevin Lang's sacrifice fly and Reid on Caleb McMinn's RBI single, cutting Eupora's lead to 8-2 in the process.
The Indians got no closer.
"We just made too many mistakes there in the first inning," said Ackerman head coach Brad Mitchell. "I thought our pitchers threw well. We got some ground balls and fly balls that I thought should have been handled early in the game that probably would have got us out of the inning.
"It's just hard for us to play our style of baseball when you're down by eight runs right out of the gate."
Cole Burney took the pitching loss for Ackerman as the Indians fell to 4-4 overall and 2-1 in Class 2A, Region 4.
Eupora improved to 7-2 overall and 2-0 in Class 2A, Region 4 behind Wright's arm and bat, as well as multiple-hit performances from B.G. Salley, Justin Newton and Corey Richardson.
Though he feels his team played well on Friday, Berryhill realizes there is plenty of baseball left in 2011 to get too excited.
"You can't back off," said Berryhill. "It's good to get the wins because that's what you want, but even when you get one, you can't get satisfied and you can't get content. You just have to keep plugging and plugging."