The two teams had split a doubleheader Friday night to set up the decisive game of the first-round Class AAAAAA state playoff series, which was played two days later than planned after Saturday’s rain-forced postponement.
Etowah coach Greg Robinson said his players excelled late in the season and had many opportunities to win against the two-time defending state champs.
Robinson said Monday’s game was a classic back-and-fourth matchup.
“It was well-pitched, good defense, timely hitting — both teams had three home runs,” he said. “I was very proud of our boys. We just came out on the short end. They were an outstanding team. They were, by far, the best team we played this year. Down to the bottom of the last inning, we held our own. We had opportunities to close it out, but it didn’t happen.”
Etowah (18-11) was playing its best baseball at the end of the season. Robinson said that’s when his team started to jell.
“We were really coming into playing our best baseball,” he said. “We had to win a few games to get into the playoffs, and we did that. We carried that momentum into Game 1 and won that. We could have closed it out in Game 2, but we let it get away from us. Then, we came back over there and played with great confidence.
“I’m just really pleased to go toe-to-toe with the back-to-back state champions. We don’t have anything to be ashamed of. Our guys left it all on the field.”
Heading into the 2014 season, Etowah will lose some key pieces of the team including ace Bryan White and Tanner Shelton, but Robinson is confident that the Eagles will reload next year and make another run.