After back-to-back losses to Gainesville and Lumpkin County, Chestatee coach Wes Gentry was searching for a way to get back in the win column.
He found it in another complete game from Scott Chewning and a timely two-out hit from Jeremy Wilkens.
“We’ve been struggling this week and any win we get we’ll take it,” Gentry said after the War Eagles defeated East Hall 7-5 on Friday at East Hall Park.
The victory didn’t come easy.
After jumping to a 2-0 lead in the third inning on an RBI ground out from Wilkens and a run-scoring single by Kevin Clifford, the War Eagles (3-3, 3-3 Region 7-AAA) quickly gave those two runs back in the bottom of the third on two straight RBI singles from Greg Edwards and Drew Adams.
It appeared as if the momentum had swung back to Vikings (2-7, 1-6), but Chestatee loaded the bases in the top half of the fourth thanks to an East Hall error, a walk and a hit batter. With two out and the bases full of War Eagles, in stepped Chestatee’s No. 4 hitter Wilkens, who lined a single to center field that scored two runs. Zack Sisk followed that with an infield hit that scored Matt Miller to give Chestatee a 5-2 lead.
“I just moved him to cleanup today,” Gentry said of Wilkens, who went 1-for-3 with three RBIs. “I look like a genius.”
He also looked like a genius by tabbing Chewning as his pitcher.
While the sophomore right hander did surrender the lead in the fifth inning when Cody Davidson and Adams scored on a wild pitch, he settled down after, allowing only one hit the rest of the game.
“I was just trying to stay positive,” said Chewning, who pitched his second complete game in a row. “You can’t get frustrated out there on the mound.”
Gentry knew that despite seeing the lead slip away and his pitch count rising, his young pitcher would rise to the occasion.
“Scott’s a trooper,” Gentry said. “It’s hard to take a kid out when he wants it so bad.”
Leaving him in paid dividends, as Chestatee took the lead for good on back-to-back bases loaded walks in the top of the sixth inning.
“It’s a good win to get us back to .500,” said Chewning, who threw 66 of his 99 pitches for strikes. “This was an important win for us to pick up.”
Not only did Chewning get it done on the mound, but he also went 2-for-5 with two runs scored. Sisk finished 2-for-4 with an RBI, while Clifford went 1-for-3 with two RBIs.
East Hall was led by Davidson, who went 3-for-4 with a run scored.
Chestatee visits West Hall at 5:30 p.m. Monday, while East Hall plays host to Pickens at 5:30 p.m. Monday.