"Our guys hung in there," said East Prairie coach Jason Aycock. "The game was back and forth, but we didn't quit."
Solid pitching performances on both sides kept the contest close.
East Prairie's Preston Shoemaker picked up the win with six innings of work. Shoemaker, whose breaking ball was his out pitch, allowed six hits with four strikeouts, and two walks.
Ben Walters relieved in the crucial seventh inning to earn the save, setting Kelly down in 1-2-3 order. He struck out two, then got a soft groundout for the final out.
"I told our guys before the game that it was going to be a game of pitching and defense," said Aycock. "Preston (Shoemaker) threw a heckuva game and Ben (Walters) came in and closed it and that's exactly how we planned the game. It's always good when the gameplan works to your favor."
Equally effective was Kelly starter Dallas Tew who took the hard-luck loss. He went the distance, tossing a seven-hitter with eight strikeouts and no walks.
Kelly (4-6) struck first with single runs in the second and third innings to take a 2-0 lead into the fourth.
In the second, DH Jon Simpher drew a leadoff walk. Stephen Strobel, pinchrunning for Simpher, advanced to second on a passed ball, then scored on Blake Hooper's RBI double.
Tew singled, stole second, then came home on Kendall Deason's double just inside the third-base line for Kelly's second score.
The Eagles (12-1) fought back with three in the top of the fourth to grab a 3
Shoemaker singled over the first-base bag, stole second and scored on Danny Bright's basehit up the middle. Taylor White followed with a single and both runners advanced on William O'Guin's groundout.
Sophomore Zach Secoy then lined a single into center field to score Bright and White.
Secoy, who went 2-for-3 with three RBIs, was the offensive catalyst for the Eagles. He eventually drove home the game-winning run in the sixth with a two-out single.
"He (Secoy) came up with two of the biggest hits of our season," said Aycock.
The 3-2 East Prairie lead was short-lived, however, as the Hawks came roaring back with a two-out rally in their half of the fourth.
A hit batsman, one of three for Shoemaker, touched off the rally and a huge break for the Hawks kept it alive.
Ryan Thomure, pinchrunning for the hit batsman Spencer Ayers, attempted a steal of second and was apparently gunned down by three or four feet on a perfect throw from Eagle catcher Bright, but the second baseman, waiting with the ball, dropped it.
Following a walk to Jordan Felter, Caleb Daughhetee, who led Kelly with two hits, slapped a two-run double into the left-centerfield gap to lift Kelly back into the lead at 4-3.
Kelly threatened to add an insurance run in the fifth, but a strikeout-throwout double play killed the inning.
"It sounds like I'm repeating myself, but we're killing ourselves with mental and physical mistakes," said Kelly coach Cory Johnson, citing several misplays that cost his team.
"That was one of them. We don't get a good jump off second and he gets thrown out when we need a run. Then early in the game, we get a guy caught off third base and tagged out in a rundown.
"We're giving the other team too many opportunities to beat us and they're taking advantage of it."
In the sixth frame, Walters led off with a line single into center field, then advanced to second when Bright was hit by a pitch. Walters then stole third and scored on O'Guin's groundout, with Bright moving to second to set up Secoy's decisive hit.
Kelly plays its third game in three days with a make-up district game at Charleston today at 4 p.m.
East Prairie, who was scheduled to play Scott County Central later this week, gains its 13th win because the Braves were forced to forfeit. The Eagles next action is at the Woodland Tournament on Saturday.