WARNER ROBINS — DeMondre Arnold capped an eighth-inning rally with a two-out, bases-loaded single as Creekside staved off elimination with a 2-1 win over Northside in Game 2 of a GHSA Class AAAAA second-round baseball series Wednesday.
The Eagles won the first game 7-0. The two teams will settle the series with a third game which begins at 5 p.m. today.
In Game 2, Northside broke a scoreless tie when Joe Scott singled home Jordan Couillard in the top of the eighth inning. Eagles pitcher Nick Boutwell then took the mound looking for his second consecutive extra-inning complete game win in the playoffs.
But Creekside (15-10) quickly loaded the bases on a walk, an error and a bunt single. Creekside head coach Chris Cheffen had his next two batters attempt bunts, but Northside recorded consecutive force outs at home plate.
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With two out and the bases still loaded, Creekside pitcher Travious Releford chopped an infield hit between the mound and shortstop to tie the game. Arnold then followed with his winning hit.
Both starting pitchers performed well through the game’s first seven innings. Releford earned the win by scattering six hits. He struck out nine and walked two.
Boutwell allowed only two hits through the first seven innings. He appeared at his best in the sixth and seventh when he struck out each of the six hitters he faced.
In the first game, Northside (18-12) batted around and scored six runs in the third inning.
Arnold, starting for Creekside in Game 1, pitched out of a bases-loaded jam in the second inning, but he couldn’t survive a similar situation in the third. Kyle McArthur walked to drive in one run and Scott followed with a clean single to right to score another.
One out later, Cole McArthur lined a ball to right that fell short of a diving Rashad Harris and then rolled to the wall. The base-clearing triple put the Eagles up 5-0. Cyle Farmer then scored Cole McArthur with a single past a drawn in infield.
McArthur, a freshman, found himself struggling at the plate as the regular season drew to a close, but he has been red hot in the playoffs. In Game 1, he finished 2-for-4. He now has six hits in the playoffs, including three for extra bases. Penciled in at the nine hole when the playoffs began, McArthur hit seventh against Creekside.
“I’m relaxing more and not thinking about it so much,” McArthur said. “And I’ve been hitting twice a day — sometimes twice a day.”
Cole’s older brother Kyle hit his second home run of the playoffs in the fourth inning to run Northside’s lead to 7-0 and complete the scoring.
Meanwhile, Eagles left-hander Justin Key scattered four hits en route to his second win of the playoffs. The Seminoles put a runner at second base in the second inning and a runner at third in the fourth, but both players were left stranded.
Key struck out seven batters in the game and walked none.