Eagles wilt under pressure of big matchup
- Written by Wesley Orton
For weeks all eyes have been on March 30. To some it would be just any other day, but to Atascocita High School it was the day they faced Kingwood in a District 21-5A baseball match-up. The Eagles came into the game with a 4-1 district record, sitting in first place tied with Baytown Sterling. Kingwood was just a game behind, waiting for a time to pounce on the young squad from AHS. That time was now. Fans knew it was a big game as they crowded the stands and stood three and four deep at the fences. Kingwood faithful showed their support, as well, and the Mustangs did not disappoint. Clay Shrader took the mound for the Eagles and sailed through the first two innings facing only seven batters. A strong defensive play by third baseman Grant Clyde in the second inning pumped up the crowd and appeared to confirm that fans were in for a showdown. Things would change in the third inning. Shrader appeared to mirror the tentative attitude of the entire team and Kingwood jumped on it. Five runs later, capped off by a three-run home run off the bat of Brad Evans, Shrader was chased from the mound. “Our kids came out and played scared today. They were intimidated from the first pitch and did nothing to overcome it,” Eagle Coach Eric Matthews confirmed. The five-run third inning appeared to shell-shock the Eagles even more as Kingwood would add nine more runs over the next two innings off Eagle pitchers Stephen Davis and Chris Madden. Home runs by Geoff Perrot and David Tittle fueled the run explosion adding insult to an already emotionally injured AHS team. “Tonight was the worst show of pitching I have seen from our team all year and, when you let that happen, nothing is going to go your way,” Matthews said. Nothing went the Eagles way, but they did manage to scratch out one run in the fifth inning off a line drive double up the middle from the bat of Grant Clyde. Too little too late as Shrader would follow up with a line drive to the third baseman ending the game due to a run rule. CUTLINE: The fans lined the stands hoping for a win but left disappointed after Kingwood handed the Eagles their second district loss.