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Eagles lose tough battle with Holtville

The W.S. Neal Eagles saw its season come to an end on Saturday after a three-game battle with Holtville in the first round of the Class 4A AHSAA state playoffs. The Eagles were defeated 14-4 in game three, with the deciding run coming off a wild pitch.

“I’m extremely proud of the kids’ effort,” said Holtville coach Michael Dismukes after winning game three. “I knew that if we pitched well and played defense we had a chance. We got a great pitching performance out of Dylan (Culverhouse). He set the tone early, and we kept the momentum up after scoring in the first inning.

The Bulldogs will travel to play Loveless Academy Magnet in round two of the playoffs.

WSN 19, Holtville 16

The bats were on full display for both teams in the opening game. Neal had 19 hits, while Holtville had 13 hits.

Neal’s Jennings Hobbs lead all hitters with five hits and 4 RBIs. Jacobey Hawthorne and Weston Riddle each had three hits and 5 RBIs. Aaron Bosarge had 3 RBIs.

Chase Driver, Zac Wheldon and Blake Harris each had 2 RBIs for Holtville. Wheldon led the team with three hits.

Jacobey Hawthorne was the winning pitcher for Neal. Chase Driver suffered the loss for Holtville.

Holtville had five errors in the game, compared to three errors by Neal.

Holtville 4, WSN 3

Held scoreless until two runs in the sixth inning and a run in the seventh, Neal found themselves with the game-tying run 240 feet away with two outs. Holtville’s Jake Brown was able to get Kristian Taylor to fly out to left field to end the game and send the series to a winner-take-all game three.

Holtville was led by Brown who had a game high 10 strikeouts.

Neal’s Aaron Bosarge was the losing pitcher. He pitched six innings, allowing four runs, two earned, on eight hits and no walks. He had six strikeouts.

Taylor and Matt Hutchins each had an RBI for Neal.

Austin Lankford was 3-for-3 at the plate for Holtville.

Holtville 14, WSN 2

Pitching was troublesome for the Eagles. Four different pitchers got the call to the mound, with all combining to give up 14 runs, seven hits and eight walks. As the Eagles’ pitching was trying to gather themselves, Holtville lefty Dylan Culverhouse was dealing. Culverhouse pitched 4.1 innings, allowing four runs and three walks. He had nine strikeouts in the winning effort. Matt Hutchins and Hunter Revel had the lone hits for Neal.

Jake Brown was 2-for-3 for Holtville. Culverhouse had a hit and 4 RBIs. Drew Nobles had 4 RBIs.

Weston Riddle suffered the loss on the mound for the Eagles.

WSN coach Coy Campbell said Holtville was able to establish pressure early, which played to the Bulldogs advantage.

“Usually in the third game of the playoffs whoever scores first puts the pressure on the other team,” Campbell said. “We had an opportunity to get out of the first inning with no runs scored, next thing, you look at the scoreboard its 3-0. Their lefty did a good job keeping us off balance at the plate. With that being said our kids competed,” he continued.

“We ran out eight or nine arms this series but that’s what you got to do sometimes to give yourselves a chance. I’m extremely proud of our kid’s effort. For most of the year we fell behind early, mostly off of things we’ve done, and we’ve always responded. This time it was just a little too late.”

The Eagles finish its season 12-12.