AVALON — Behind the bat and arm of Eric Smith, the Avalon Eagle baseball team picked up its second district win in run-rule fashion against Milford. A first-team all district player one season ago, Eric Smith drove in six runs and tossed a complete game in the 11-1 victory Wednesday afternoon.
Smith (4-0, 0.91 ERA) was efficient and effective on the bump. He threw just 62 pitches in his five innings of work with 42 going for strikes. He also struck out eight Bulldogs and allowed three hits — one being a home run to left field that led off the Milford half of the second inning with the Eagles already comfortably ahead.
Avalon (9-2, 2-1 in District 15-2A) scored seven runs in the bottom half of the first inning to give Smith all of the run support needed.
Dillon Martin started the inning off with a drag bunt for a single to the Milford third baseman, and Dylan Chambers followed with a walk, to put runners on first and second with no one out. After a double steal, Smith sent a double into left field to score the two Eagles for the only lead Avalon would need on the day. The two RBIs were part of six driven in by Smith on the day for his now team-leading 11 RBIs this season.
The seven-run inning was also highlighted by a second double, this time from Jacob Davidson that scored Clayton Hopgood from third base for a 4-0 Avalon lead. It was Smith that capped the outburst when he was hit-by-a-pitch with the bases loaded to plate Tony Balderas.
Avalon tacked on four more runs via passed balls and errors in the third and fourth inning to cap the 10-run win.
The win came one day after Avalon fell to (8-2, 3-0) Abbott, where Dylan Chambers accounted for the only Eagle hit. The Panthers of Abbott are currently tied atop the District 15-2A standings with the (4-6, 3-0) Itasca Wampus Cats, with the Eagles and (4-6, 3-0) Frost Polar Bears tied for third and fourth in the standings.
On the season Rhett Newton (.524 BA), Austin Johnson (.412 BA) and Clayton Hopgood (.412 BA) lead the Eagles at the plate by with Newton carrying a team-high 11 hits and nine walks for a .677 on-base percentage.
Smith leads the team on the bump with his four wins and minuscule 0.91 ERA over 23 innings of work. He also has a team-high 30 strikeouts on the season, which is followed by the 16 Alex Hernandez has posted in 9.2 innings on the mound.
The Eagles return to the diamond Tuesday at home against Blum. First pitch is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Avalon will then hit the road Friday for a 4:30 p.m. first pitch against Covington before returning home to host Italy on Tuesday, March 28.
Travis M. Smith, @Travis5mith