Baseball: Eaglecrest edges Overland 8-7 in Centennial League opener

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Eaglecrest senior Vincent Donovan watches the flight of his sacrifice fly to right field during the fifth inning of the Raptors’ Centennial League baseball opener against Overland on April 6, 2017, at Eaglecrest High School. The sac fly brought home what turned out to be the winning run in an 8-7 Raptors’ victory. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

CENTENNIAL | The Eaglecrest baseball team continues to find ways to win in the new season and came through in a different way Thursday afternoon.

The Raptors watched a three-run lead evaporate against Overland in the top of the fifth inning of their Centennial League opener, but plated a run in the bottom half of the frame and made it hold up in an 8-7 victory.

Senior outfielder Vincent Donovan snuffed out the Trailblazers’ rally in the fifth with a defensive double play and then brought home pinch runner Kyle Johnson with a sacrifice fly for the go-ahead run for coach Tory Humphrey’s Eaglecrest team, which got its tightest win of the year and improved to 7-0 and 1-0 in league.

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Senior Garrett Tisdall earned the win for Eaglecrest with a five-inning outing during the Raptors’ 8-7 victory against Overland on April 6, 2017. (Photo by Courtney Oakes/Aurora Sentinel)

Senior Garrett Tisdall pitched five solid innings and homered and senior Jayden Smith tossed two scoreless innings to earn a save for Eaglecrest, which has nearly doubled its win total from last season. Junior Andrew Danko homered and drove in a pair of runs and junior Zach Sulyma and sophomore Evan Mason also had two hits apiece for the Raptors.

Overland (6-3, 0-1) fell in a two-run hole after one inning and trailed all the way until the fifth inning, when coach Eric Askew’s group clawed its way into a 7-7 tie.

Junior Luis De La Cueva chopped a single to left field with the bases loaded to bring home two runs and the Trailblazers looked for more with just one out. Senior Erick Espinosa hit a drive to center field that was snared by Donovan, who fired to second base to double off freshman Nathan Blanco, who dove back late.

Stillian Balasopoulov doubled off the fence in left center with one out in the bottom of the fifth and the Raptors loaded the bases against Overland’s Kevin Zapanta. Donovan’s sac fly to right field brought in the go-ahead run and Eaglecrest stranded two more runners in scoring position.

The left-handed Smith came on in relief of righty Tisdall, who scattered 10 hits and allowed seven runs (five earned) with six strikeouts in his five innings of work.

Smith struck out the side in the sixth innings to escape trouble, as he froze Overland’s Daylon Jones for a called third strike to the end the inning with runners at first and third. He had a clean top of the seventh to preserve the victory.

Eaglecrest is home to Pomona at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, while Overland plays host to a team from Riverside University from Wisconsin at 3 p.m.

Courtney Oakes is Aurora Sentinel Sports Editor. Reach him at 303-750-7555 or [email protected] Twitter: @aurorasports. FB: Aurora Prep Sentinel

EAGLECREST 8, OVERLAND 7

Score by innings (r-h-e):

Overland  013 030 0 — 7  10  3

Eaglecrest  231 110 x — 8   9  6

WP — Eaglecrest:  Garrett Tisdall (5 IP, 10 H, 7 R, 5 ER, 0 BB, 6 K). Save — Eaglecrest: Jayden Smith (2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 4 K)

Eaglecrest hitting: Andrew Danko 2-4, HR, 2 RBI, 2 runs; Evan Mason 2-4, RBI, run; Zach Sulyma 2-3; Jayden Smith 1-3, RBI, run; Garrett Tisdall 1-4, HR, RBI, run; Stillian Balasopoulov 1-3; Vincent Donovan 0-2, RBI, run; Nick Lovett 0-3; Matthew Barlow 0-2; Tyler Mills 0-1; Kyle Johnson 0-0, 2 runs