Power play­ers

East­side var­sity soft­ball pow­ers past Dac­ula, 7-1

The Covington News - - SPORTS - By Ja­son Mincey

Ricki Pow­ers more than lived up to her name ear­lier this week.

The East­side se­nior righthanded pitcher played the work­horse Tues­day evening by throw­ing 138 pitches and go­ing the dis­tance for the Lady Ea­gles in their 7-1 vic­tory over Dac­ula at East­side Field. Her team­mates backed her up with clutch hit­ting and a fifth in­ning de­fen­sive gem, as well.

“She al­ways puts us in a po­si­tion to win,” East­side head coach Heather Wood said, “and we played good de­fense be­hind her to­day. I’m proud of them.”

The Lady Ea­gles im­proved to 5-3 over­all, 2-0 in Re­gion 8-AAAA. That is right where they want to be at this stage of the young sea­son, ac­cord­ing to Wood.

“We stand a re­ally good chance in the re­gion,” she said, adding that she was happy to have early games against two of their tough­est re­gion foes — Dac­ula and Lo­ganville — be­hind them now.

Sierra Pe­tree and Amanda Henderson each had two of East­side’s nine hits, driv­ing

in two runs apiece. Bri Cham­bers played the lead­off role to per­fec­tion, reach­ing base dur­ing all four of her plate ap­pear­ances with a sin­gle and three walks.

The of­fen­sive surge came against Dac­ula (4-2-2, 21) starter Al­lie Miles, who strug­gled with her com­mand through­out the game by walk­ing seven over six in­nings and hit­ting one bat­ter.

Miles com­mit­ted the car­di­nal sin of walk­ing Cham­bers in the bot­tom of the first in­ning, then promptly com­pounded her mis­take by walk­ing the next bat­ter, Sab­rina Chan­dler. Both would even­tu­ally come around to score as the Lady Ea­gles took an early 2-0 lead.

It was all the of­fense Pow­ers would need on this par­tic­u­lar day. She was rarely in dan­ger, al­low­ing Dac­ula just one un­earned run in the top of the fifth. Even­tu­ally, it would turn out to be the Lady Fal­cons’ best hope for a big in­ning.

Dac­ula’s Me­gan Lit­tle led off with a walk and quickly

“W e stand a re­ally good chance in the re­gion.”

ad­vanced to sec­ond on a pitch to the back­stop. The next bat­ter, Dixie Ste­wart, bat­tled through an eight-pitch at-bat be­fore drop­ping what looked to be a run-scor­ing bloop sin­gle over third base.

Un­for­tu­nately for Ste­wart, East­side short­stop Laura Ro­driguez had other ideas.

Ro­driguez made the de­fen­sive play of the game, lay­ing out to snag the flare just be­fore it hit the chalk in shal­low left field, keep­ing Lit­tle at sec­ond and send­ing the home crowd into a frenzy. While Lit­tle would even­tu­ally come around to score on a throw­ing er­ror by Pow­ers, the pitcher never lost her fo­cus, in­duc­ing a ground ball to Ro­driguez to end the threat.

All af­ter­noon, Pow­ers seemed able to reach back for a lit­tle ex­tra when she needed it most. While per­haps not as over­pow­er­ing as her fire-balling team­mate, Brandi Richards (17 strike­outs against

— Heather Wood Soft­ball head coach, East­side High School

Lo­ganville on Au­gust 21), Pow­ers was cer­tainly no less ef­fec­tive.

The hurler scat­tered four hits over the seven in­nings against Dac­ula, strik­ing out six while walk­ing only two.

“I was re­ally con­fi­dent in my curve and my rise ball to­day,” Pow­ers said af­ter­ward. “I didn’t have a good change-up at first, but it came around later.”

Pow­ers ob­vi­ously still had some­thing left in the tank at the end. Al­though she had al­ready thrown 120 pitches when she took the mound dur­ing the top of the sev­enth in­ning, she still recorded back-to-back strike­outs of Dac­ula’s first two hit­ters. Af­ter Sarah Bent­ley grounded out weakly to sec­ond base­man Pe­tree for the fi­nal out, Pow­ers and the Lady Ea­gles had se­cured the re­gion vic­tory.

East­side will next visit Salem at 5 p.m. Thurs­day dur­ing re­gion ac­tion.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Play of the day: East­side’s Laura Ro­driguez dives and makes the catch along the third base line dur­ing the fifth in­ning Tues­day night against Dac­ula at East­side Field. The Lady Ea­gles de­feated the Lady Fal­cons in re­gion play, 7-1.

Mandi Singer/The Cov­ing­ton News

Power­ball: East­side’s Ricki Pow­ers de­liv­ers a pitch against Dac­ula on Tues­day evening at East­side Field. Pow­ers threw 138 pitches and recorded six strike­outs. The Lady Ea­gles won, 7-1.

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