"We've talked all season long about what it means to compete," said Henderson. "For us, it means that we will pick out that one play, player, moment or game and say we are better than you, and we are going to overcome any obstacle to win."
Three times the Eagles (5-1) trailed in the contest and were forced to compete.
The Cougars punched two runs across the plate in the top of the third. Pierce City responded with three tallies in the bottom half of the inning.
Ian Brottlund led off the frame with a double. Colton Drollinger and Kole Kelley walked to load the bases. A sacrifice fly by Bo Vincent to right field scored Brottlund. A single by Garron Cantrell scored Drollinger and Kelley to give the Eagles a 3-2 lead.
College Heights responded with a run in the top of the fifth to tie the game.
"Mental mistakes really hurt us in the later innings tonight," said Henderson. "We persevered and competed. All the mistakes we made are fixable."
The Cougars loaded the bases in the eighth inning with one out, but the Eagles' defense stiffened, giving up only one run.
Down a run in the bottom of the eighth, Bo Vincent singled to open the frame. With one out, Mike Vincent walked. Bo Vincent promptly stole third base. An overthrow to third by the Cougars' catcher allowed the equalizing run to cross the plate.
Unfazed by the rally, College Heights took the lead again in the top of the ninth, only to watch the Eagles come back.
Brottlund opened the inning with a walk. With one out, Colin Garner hit a pop up on the infield, which fell to the ground. Brottlund was thrown out at second, and Garner was safe at first.
|Kelley then ripped a single up the middle. When the dust settled, Pierce City had runners at the corners.||Kelley broke for second in an attempt to steal. The Cougars' pitcher spun to throw him out. However, because the pitcher had become set (committed to throw the ball home), a balk was called. Both runners were allowed to advance, which scored Garner to tie the game 5-5.|
Bo Vincent drilled the next pitch to centerfield, enabling Kelley to score from second and complete the victory.
"We never gave up," said Henderson. "We finally put the pressure back on them, and we came out on top."
Mike Vincent got the start for the Eagles. He threw six innings, allowed three runs and stuck out nine. Kelley got the win, pitching three innings, allowing two hits and collecting one strikeout.
The Eagles will be at home on Friday against Greenfield. First pitch is set for 4:30 p.m.