Evangel takes two from Hope Christian

By BAKER ELLIS / Sports Editor

PELHAM – The Evangel Christian baseball Lightning took two games away from the Hope Christian Eagles on April 9. The Eagles advanced to 17-5-1 after the doubleheader.

Game 1. Evangel 2 – Hope 1
In the first game of the doubleheader, the Lightning needed eight innings to put away the home squad. Tyler Byrd pitched the entire game for Evangel, throwing 104 pitches in eight innings worth of work while only relinquishing four hits. Douglas Skinner took the mound for Hope and tossed 111 pitches over seven innings, striking out 11 and giving up six hits before being replaced by John David Birdsong in the eighth.

Hope struck first, in the bottom of the fourth, when Chandler Donegan smacked a leadoff double into left field and later scored on a passed ball. The 1-0 lead for the Eagles held until the top of the sixth, when Evangel’s leadoff hitter, Rafael Cabellaro, pummeled the first pitch of the inning into right field for a leadoff double of his own. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Cabellaro scored when Byrd singled to center field to tie the contest at one run apiece.

After a stalemate over the final inning and a half, the teams needed an eighth inning to declare a victor. Two back-to-back errors by the Hope Christian infield left Cabellaro and Andrew Thompon at third and second with nobody out. A Jacob Albright sacrifice fly was enough to score Cabellaro and give the Lightning the close win.

Game 2. Evangel 8 – Hope 1
The second game of the doubleheader was not as close. Hope used five pitchers, Birdsong, Dillon Thompson, Bill Etheredge, Chris Richardson and Donegan at different times throughout the contest. Donegan was the only Eagle pitcher to not relinquish a run to Evangel. Opposing the Hope committee of pitchers was Albright, who tossed a complete game, 78-pitch, seven-strikeout gem to get the win for the Lightning.

The backbreaking inning in the second game came when Evangel knocked four runs across the plate in the top of the fifth to build a 6-0 lead from which Hope could not recover. Cabellaro, Thompson and Byrd each had two hits in the second game for Evangel.