By DANNY P. SMITH
The Eupora Eagles may have a pretty good future in clutch hitting with the underclassmen coming up through the program.
They were doing a pretty good job of it in the present Friday in the second round of the Class 2A playoffs against the Baldwyn Bearcats.
Junior Casey Oliver drove in three runs with a sacrifice fly and double, while junior Billy Glenn Sally had a two-run single and sophomore Justin Newton drove in a run with a single to account for all of the scoring for the Eagles in a 6-3 victory.
"We had one big hit out of our five hole guy (Oliver) and he has hit well for us all year long," Eupora coach Lee Berryhill said. "We didn't get anything out of our three or four hole, but the other guys picked up. It's like I said earlier, somebody steps up and it seems like it's somebody different every time. We have a junior and senior club mostly, but outside of that we've got one 8th grader."
The Eagles, who improved to 16-2 take a 1-0 lead in the series and play the second game today (2 p.m.) at Baldwyn.
Eupora scored three runs in the first inning when Rusty Johnson reached on an error and came home on the sacrifice fly by Oliver, then Sally delivered a two-run single later in the frame. Newton gave the Eagles a 4-0 lead with his RBI single.
"We're down at the bottom of the lineup and just contribute to the team," Sally said about the underclassmen. "We just want to do our job and if the ball is pitched outside, take it the other way. That's what I did."
Completing all of its scoring in the first two innings, Eupora got two more runs in the second on a two-run double by Oliver.
That was enough for starting pitcher Jeremy Wright, who went the distance without having his best stuff. He scattered eight hits, had seven strikeouts with two walks and hit two batters.
"I just had to do what I had to do by throwing strikes and letting my team play defense behind me," Wright said. "We've got a pretty solid defense. I know if I throw strikes, they play pretty good behind me."
Berryhill was thankful to get a win against Baldwyn (14-11) on a day where he didn't think the Eagles played their best baseball.
"Any win is good, but you hope to execute and do things that you work on all year long," Berryhill said. "It's not going to happen every game. I know that and most people do, but the thing about it, when things aren't right, you find a way to get through it and come out on the better end."