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Baseball: Eagles take sole possession of first place in MCAA

Cooper Falteisek gets a few high fives after crossing home plate in the fifth inning. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia1 / 2
Henry George throws to home plate during Tuesday's MCAA game against Legacy Christian Academy. Blaze Fugina / RiverTown Multimedia2 / 2

The New Life Academy baseball team is now in the driver's seat in the Minnesota Christian Athletic Association.

The Eagles scored four runs in the fourth and fifth innings Tuesday to pull ahead in a 5-1 victory against Legacy Christian Academy at home. With the win, New Life Academy took over first place in the MCAA as the only conference team without a loss at 8-0. Legacy Christian dropped back to a record of 8-1.

After losing a road game 12-1 in Rochester to Caledonia on Saturday, New Life Academy was happy to respond with a clean game on Tuesday.

"I think we just came out more focused today, and we were mentally sharp to come out here and play a good game," junior Zach Thor said.

Henry George, Tuesday's starting pitcher, came around to score in the bottom of the first inning on a RBI single by Cooper Falteisek. But the big damage came in the middle innings.

Thor drove in Aaron Bouillon with a RBI double, and he later came around to score on a RBI fielder's choice by Justin Hamil. In the fifth inning, both George and Falteisek crossed home plate.

Facing a team with few losses this season, the Eagles were pleased with how they conducted their at-bats.

"I thought our approach was a lot better today, especially early in the count," George said. "We were a lot more aggressive. If we needed to move a guy over, then we did that."

Legacy Christian Academy scored its only run in the top of the fourth inning when Nils Anderson scored on a single from Logan Pierro.

The Eagles were able to score some runs off Legacy Christian starting pitcher Josh Peterson, who had a less than one earned run average before Tuesday. While Legacy Christian has an experienced roster with 12 seniors, head coach Dave Darr said the Eagles were able to respond with one of the cleanest games of the season.

"We've been fortunate, we've been able to hit them a little bit," Darr said. "It kind of continued a little bit today. We didn't get a ton of hits, but we got enough. We got the hits when we got guys on base, and we were able to move guys around."

George, who recently signed his letter of intent to the University of Minnesota Duluth baseball program, was able to overcome a feeling of sickness from earlier Tuesday to throw a complete game. He allowed just one earned run in the process and struck out four batters.

"I have to give all the glory to God because this morning I was feeling really under the weather," George said. "I wasn't sure if I was going to make it. I was able to get well enough, and I was kind of running on adrenaline there in the game."

The Eagles remain on top in the MCAA standings with the final two weeks left before the section playoffs, but they are not out of the woods just yet. Southwest Christian, which is 6-1 in MCAA play, will visit New Life Academy in the final game of the regular season on Wednesday, May 17.

Before then, the Eagles hope to keep playing more games like they did on Tuesday.

"I think we need to stay mentally focused," Thor said. "A lot of it is our approach at the plate. We've been playing good defense. We haven't been hitting as well as we would like to. I think the biggest thing for us is to keep putting the ball in play because good things happen when you do that."