First home run of season keys ECA baseball to victory

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Sam Perkett chose a good time to do something his team hadn't done all season.

Perkett's three-run home run over the left field fence, the first round-tripper of the campaign, was a momentum catalyst for ECA (9-4, 2-2 2A District 8) as the Eagles took down CSCS (1-9, 0-1 3A Tri-Peak West) 13-2 in five innings Saturday afternoon.

"I knew right away that it was gone," Perkett said. "I was just taking a jog to first base."

The timely home run came in the second inning, after ECA had taken an early 2-0 lead. When Perkett rounded third base, his teammates were ready.

"When I walked into the dugout, all the guys were ecstatic," Perkett said. "I think the energy from that won the game."

ECA coach Bob Deruiter saw the impact the home run had on his team, helping the Eagles to a six-run second inning.

"Obviously, that was a big blow," Deruiter said. "It was nice to see him get into one. That gives us a little bit of life and momentum and I think it kind of killed (CSCS') spirit."

CSCS had gained some early momentum in the top of the first inning, with runners on second and third with only one out. On a fly ball to right field, the Lions' Daniel Burton tagged up, attempting to score.

Burton collided with the ECA catcher in front of the plate, and the ball was knocked free. Burton was called out.

After an umpire conference, the call stood, and Burton, who had hit .538 with seven RBIs in the Lions' first nine games, was ejected. The inning was over.

"I thought it should have been a warning," CSCS coach Tom Flannery said. "It's confusing about what a collision is, with the new rules that we have."

"That kind of deflated things. After that it was a tough game, ECA played really well."

That was about as much offense as the Lions would have until the fourth inning, when Justin Johnston blasted a home run to left center to get CSCS on the board.

It was the only run Perkett, who pitched four strong innings, would allow.

The victory was the sixth in the last seven games for ECA, and a bit of revenge after a 9-8 defeat to CSCS in 2016.

"We're taking care of business and beating the teams we're supposed to," Deruiter said. "We've got some tough games coming up, but if we play our best baseball I think our record will take care of itself."

The ninth win for ECA is already more victories in a season than the Eagles have had since 2013.

"This is a team that ECA hasn't had in a while," Perkett, a senior, said. "I think it's the start of something great."