Even though his Lions (1-0) didn't get off to the strongest start, they were able to settle down. After walking four in the first inning, Seth Brown settled down for a near-perfect second inning before Will Sheffield pitched five shutout innings of his own to pick up the win.
"We started off, walked [four] guys in the first inning, they scored three runs, made an error and they had a couple hits there and took advantage of our errors. After we settled in and Sheffield did a great job on the mound, we started playing and took advantage of some opportunities with the bat. I was pleased with the way we bounced back from the third inning on," Shiver said.
The Eagles (0-1) got on the board first with some help of the walks, some defensive mistakes and putting the ball in play. Corey Loftin led the game off with a walk and moved to second on Jame Bragg's sacrifice bunt before an errant throw brought him around to open the scoring. Ryan Duren would walk and his courtesy-runner scored on Nate Warren's RBI single. Garrett Frazier would score the final run of the first inning on a balk.
While they were unable to continue the success of the inning, first-year Eagle coach Wade Cohen was pleased with the way his team was able to manufacture the runs.
"The kids were exercising some patients at the plate," Cohen said. "We've got some work to do, but we're going to get things going in the right direction."
Starting in the bottom of the second, Central began to chip away at the lead.
In the second, Brown singled to start the inning and his courtesy-runner scored on an RBI double from Spencer Lewis. Another run scored in the third when Ryan Helton walked, with his courtesy-runner scoring on a wild pitch to make it 3-2.
Then in the fourth inning Helton would come up with the big, two-run single, scoring Wesley Long and Cullen Morehead after Lewis had scored on an error for the 5-3 lead.
Three more runs would score in the fifth, as Lewis had an RBI triple and Dalton Wyble hit an RBI double with Lewis scoring on a double-steal. The Lions capped the scoring in the sixth when Chaney Lambert hit a two-run single and Wyble was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
While Central's offense was putting up runs, Sheffield was shutting down the Eagles. Sheffield finished with five scoreless innings, giving up just one hit, walking two and striking out six to earn the victory.
"He did a great job. A couple times he got behind, but he did a great job showing some composure as a young guy. He bounced back from a couple innings Saturday that he didn't really focus. I was glad to see him step up in that situation," Shiver said.
Lewis led the Lions' offense with a three-hit performance, picking up a single, double and triple to go with a walk, two RBI and two runs scored. George also had a two hits in the win.
The Eagles will host Bowdon on Wednesday in their home opener at 5:30 p.m.
"The patience at the plate was a big thing early," Cohen said. "We've got to take what the other team gives you and turn it into a positive thing. We did that early, but as the game progressed, we didn't do that so much."
On Thursday, the Lions will look to keep the momentum going, hosting South Paulding in a 4 p.m. contest.
"Anytime you can get a win, it's always a positive. I was proud of the way we're competing. When we compete and do the little things, the big things usually take care of themselves. I'm very proud of our young men. Hopefully, we can continue to move forward," Shiver said.