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Chestatee builds big lead, holds off East Hall 10-8
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Chestatee coach Kyle Counts is starting to see some positive signs of growth, despite letting a big lead slip away before holding on for a 10-8 win against East Hall on Friday.

The win marked the first time for the War Eagles (2-5) to put up more than three runs this season. They had combined for just five runs all season before the non-region win at East Hall Park.

The War Eagles’ first-year coach knows there will continue to be a learning curve with a program that doesn’t have any seniors.

“We did a good job of putting the ball in play tonight,” Counts said. “We made some mistakes, but were able to fight our way through it.”

Chestatee struck for three runs in the first inning, then five more in the second to help build a 10-2 lead after three innings. That proved enough to hold off the Vikings (2-3), who scored three runs in both the fourth and fifth innings.

With Chestatee leading 10-8 in the bottom of the seventh, East Hall left the bases loaded in its final at bat. Caleb Holtzclaw led the way for the Vikings with two extra-base hits, an RBI double in the fifth inning and one-out single in the seventh.

“It’s great to see our team scrap, fight and claw its way back after getting down big early,” East Hall coach Wesley Crow said.

For East Hall, Region 7-AAA play opens Monday with a trip to Buford. Meanwhile, Chestatee plays three more non-region games next week, starting with a trip to Habersham Central on Monday. The War Eagles also have road games at Riverside Military on Thursday and Wheeler on Saturday.

Joey Scheman had three of Chestatee’s nine hits on the night. He had one-out singles in both the first and second innings and came around to score each time. All three of the War Eagles’ runs in the first inning came with two outs, starting with an RBI double on a 3-2 count from Caleb Jameson.

Jordan Browning followed with an RBI single, and reached base on his next two plate appearances after getting hit by a pitch.

Following one-out singles by Austin Flanagan and Scheman in the second inning, the War Eagles scored their five runs via three walks, two batters hit by pitch and two passed balls.

Trailing 10-5 in the bottom of the fifth inning, East Hall chipped away at the hole it dug early in the game with three hits and three runs. Caleb Kinsey (2 for 4) and Holtzclaw (3 for 4) drove in runs to start the rally. Then with two outs, Jack Hagwood roped an RBI triple to the left field wall, knocking the Chestatee lead down to 10-8.

East Hall challenged in its final at bat, starting with a one-out single by Holtzclaw and two-out walk from Hagwood that loaded the bases. The War Eagles recorded the final out on a strikeout looking.

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