McEathron leading Windsor into state semifinals

Eli McEathron is having a pretty special first season as head baseball coach at Windsor High School.

The 2011 Skyline graduate and 2015 Shenandoah University graduate has helped lead Windsor to the Group 1A state semifinals. Windsor plays Fort Chiswell in the state semifinals at Radford University at 10 a.m. today.

“We have a lot of talent. They’re a good group of guys,” McEathron said in a phone interview on Wednesday. “We have a young team. Most of them are sophomores, but they’re talented and they play hard. They’ve really stepped up. They want to win. They’re happy to be out there and they want to win games.”

McEathron said he was an assistant coach for the varsity boys basketball team this past winter, but he said being a head coach was different and he was a little nervous going in.

He said that he has had a lot of help from his assistant coach, and the players helped make it easier for him as well.

McEathron said that Windsor lost in the first round of regionals last year and that the previous head coach left the program in good shape.

Windsor (14-5) advanced to the Region 1A East tournament, after making it to the Conference 41 final. Windsor lost to Chincoteague, 6-2, in the May 24 final.

Windsor was the No. 3 seed in the Region 1A East tournament and won three straight games to win the regional title.

In the quarterfinals Windsor beat Central-Lunenburg, 9-6, on a walk-off home run in the eighth inning.

Windsor followed that up by knocking off Riverheads, 8-3, in nine innings. McEathron said that due to rain, they had to play the two games on back-to-back days.

“We went through some adversity,” McEathron said. “They played with a lot of heart and perseverance. They’re tough kids.”

Windsor won the regional final over Rappahannock, 14-1. Rappahannock plays Eastside in today’s other semifinal at 1 p.m. The two semifinal winners play for the state championship at Radford University at 10 a.m. Saturday.

McEathron said a big key to the team’s success has been the team chemistry.

“They’ve really come together as a team,” McEathron said. “It’s going to take a full team effort. …They’ve really been helping each other up and encouraging each other.”

McEathron said it would be the first state title for the baseball program in school history and they’ve had a lot of community support.

He said if the team plays well he feels good about what they can do in the state tournament.

“I’m excited. We just got to stay grounded and humble,” McEathron said. “We’re two games away from winning a state title. If we play up to our full potential I think we have a good shot at getting it done. …I think it helped that we had some extra-inning games, and that experience will help us come through. The guys are ready.”

Contact staff writer Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 168, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com