Hit me if you can
Henderson's no-hitter, 14 K's propels Eastide 8-0 over Alcovy
It might have been senior night Thursday at Alcovy, but it was an Eastside junior that stole the show.
Amanda Henderson continued her dominating season as she struck out 14 out of 15 batters en route to a no-hit, 80 victory in five innings over Alcovy.
“Once again, she (Henderson) did a great job for us,” Eastside coach Heather Wood said. “She put us in a position to win and I’m just proud of her performance today.”
Henderson set the tone from the beginning as she struck out the side in the first inning. Aside from a walk in the fourth inning, Henderson was perfect.
“You have to take your hat off to Amanda Henderson,” Alcovy coach Casey Bates said. “She went out there and made it look easy.
“I told the girls before the game that we had to lay off the rise ball and she kept throwing it, throwing it, throwing it and we kept swing at it, swing
at it, swinging at it and we just couldn’t make contact with it,” Bates added. “She’s the best pitcher we’ve seen by far and I think she’s the best pitcher we’ll see until we get to the state tournament.”
Eastside took an early 1-0 lead in the second inning on an RBI single by Jqurya Blue. Summer Kusch started on the mound for the Lady Tigers who were without their ace Dallas Hardin who took a ball off the thumb in practice Wednesday. Kusch pitched well until the fourth inning when Eastside scored five runs, four of them with two outs.
Erica Cronic led off the inning with a single but Kusch responded with two ground balls for outs. Bri Chambers reached on a bunt single to score a run and Kayla Jones, Henderson, Sierra Petree, Amanda Hawkins and Blue strung together consectutive hits to plate four runs.
“Offensively we’ve been doing a much better job,” Wood said. “They’re making the right adjustments at the plate. They usually give it one time through (the order) and they were talking to each other today and they were a lot more disciplined at the plate.”
Up 6-0 heading into the fifth inning, Eastside tacked on two more runs to extend its lead. Again it was the top of the order that did the damage. After Kenya Shakour tripled to start the inning, Chambers drove her home with a single. Henderson drove in the next run with her second hit of the game and Eastside took an 8-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth.
Henderson slammed the door, striking out the side for the fourth time in the game to seal the no-hitter under the run rule.
Eastside picked up three triples and 11 hits overall. Chambers, Jones and Henderson each had two hits and drove in two runs apiece to lead the Lady Eagles.
Heading into next week’s region tournament, Wood is pleased with the progress her team has made the past couple of weeks and feels confident they will be ready as they face Franklin County Tuesday at 5 p.m. at Hart County.
“We try to always keep our intensity up even if we are up,” Wood said. “I’ve been very pleased with our hitting. We’ve been working on it a lot in practice because that is one of our weaknesses. Even if we don’t face a dominant pitcher, we still need the way we are capable of.”
As for Alcovy, Bates said the Region 4-AAAA regular season champs can learn from facing a pitcher like Henderson and will be ready to go when they take on the winner of the Dutchtown/Griffin game 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Lovejoy Complex.
“It told them you can’t let it get you down,” Bates said. “That shows you can be beat by a pitcher. You can’t have a pitcher dominate you. You can’t let that happen. You have to find a way to get on base. We have to be ready to go.”
She's safe: Sierra Petree slides in safe at third base under Amber Melton's glove during the fourth inning of Eastside's 8-0 victory over county rival Alcovy Thursday. Petree and the Eagles will play Franklin County on Tuesday at Hart County in the Region 8- AAA tournament.