East Jackson coach Tedd Sims tells his team there are plenty of ways to win a game.
His Eagles found a new way to pull one out Tuesday night, scoring the winning run on a balk in the top of the seventh inning in a 1-0 region victory at Franklin County.
“We don’t get a ball out of the field all night long — not one ball out of the infield all night long — and we won a game 1-0,” Sims said.
Part of the winning equation was a stellar mound performance from Halton Hardy. The junior right-hander threw a complete-game, one-hit gem with five strikeouts and just one walk.
With the win Hardy improved to 4-1 with an ERA below 2.00.
“It’s pretty phenomenal what he’s doing,” Sims said.
East Jackson (7-8, 2-5) pushed across the decisive run when Sealey was hit by a pitch, advanced to second on a sac bunt from Dylan Varner, went to third on a passed ball and scored on a balk.
“It’s one of those things where I tell the kids every day that we’re going to play 21 outs, and you can win a game in the first inning and you can win a game in the seventh inning, and there are various ways to win a game,” Sims said.
Offensively, the Eagles finished with three hits in this pitcher’ duel. Cole Sealey and Luke Lindsey both went 1-for-2. Jake Varner went 1-for-3.
East Jackson committed no errors.
Sims said this was very much a team win.
“Seventeen players in the program, and I was so proud of every one of them,” Sims said. “Every one of them played a part in the win last night, whether they were on the field or not, that’s what a team is about.”
Prior to Tuesday’s game, East Jackson had lost five of its last six games to Franklin County, which reached the Sweet 16 of the playoffs last year.
The coach said the big win was particularly satisfying for the juniors on the roster (East Jackson has no seniors), who endured losses of 10 runs or more 17 times during Sims’ first year on the job in 2017. He said those players continue to “trust the process.”
“We’re not quite on the map yet, but we’re getting there,” Sims said.
East Jackson closes the series with Franklin County Friday at home with a doubleheader starting at 5 p.m.
“There’s a motto and a cliché that all coaches use, and I use it a lot, but you’re only as good as your next game,” Sims said. “And the only game we’re worried about right now is Game 1 on Friday night against Franklin County. Coach (Frank) Vashaw does a great job with that program, and I know they’ll be ready to play on Friday.”