East­side soars past Knights

The Covington News - - SPORTS - MATT SMITH msmith@cov­news.com

The East­side Ea­gles var­sity soft­ball team might have needed a half-in­ning to get set­tled on Thurs­day against John­son (Gainesville), but as soon as their nerves stead­ied, it was all Ea­gles in a 15-2 route that was called af­ter just four in­nings.

The Ea­gles (6-3) sur­ren­dered a pair of un­earned runs in the top half of the first, but scored 15 unan­swered runs to best John­son in out-of-re­gion com­pe­ti­tion.

East­side pitcher Katie Fletcher fin­ished the con­test on the mound with three strike­outs in four in­nings of work, sur­ren­der­ing just one hit and one walk in the vic­tory.

“We made some mis­takes early in the game and it seemed like we weren’t all there,” East­side head coach Ja­son Stokes said. “You could tell that we weren’t able to prac­tice the day be­fore. De­spite the early strug­gles, I was proud of them for stay­ing back (while hit­ting).

“We have had some trou­ble let­ting the ball travel and the girls did a good job of mak­ing some ad­just­ments to the slower pitch­ing to­day. We re­ally started lin­ing the ball and that was a pos­i­tive.”

The Knights opened the con­test with a pair of un­earned runs to take a 2-0 lead into the bot­tom of the first. How­ever,, their 2-run lead was short­lived as the Ea­gles posted seven runs in the bot­tom half of the frame to take a com­mand­ing 7-2 ad­van­tage.

Cati Ray crossed the plate for East­side’s first score of the con­test on an in­field sin­gle from Madi­son Hop­per, while Hop­per evened the score two bat­ters later af­ter reach­ing home on a Molly Moon fielder’s choice. The Ea­gles took the lead for good on a Ha­ley Yates dou­ble to score Bai­ley Ste­wart be­fore Yates reached home on a Knights’ field­ing er­ror to give East­side a 4-2 lead.

The Ea­gles added three more runs in the frame on a Ray blast past the Knights’ out­field­ers, scor­ing Tay­lor Smith, Madi­son Whit­sett and Ally All­good. Ray was thrown out at home try­ing to stretch a triple into a home run to close the in­ning.

Both teams re­mained score­less in the sec­ond and third in­nings be­fore the Ea­gles added eight runs to their to­tal in the fourth.

Hop­per picked up her sec­ond and third RBIs on the day with a dou­ble, scor­ing Ray and Taz Pow­ell to ex­tend the Ea­gles’ ad­van­tage to 9-2. Scor­ing knocks from Bai­ley Ste­wart and Smith added three more runs to the Ea­gles’ to­tal, push­ing their lead to 10 runs.

Yates crossed home on an­other Knights’ field­ing er­ror be­fore Ray closed the game with a 2-RBI sin­gle, giv­ing the Ea­gles their sixth vic­tory of the sea­son.

Hop­per fin­ished the day 2-for-3 at the dish with three RBIs, while Smith also picked up two hits and two RBIs in the win.

The Ea­gles will re­turn to ac­tion next week, trav­el­ing to Lump­kin on Tues­day be­fore host­ing county ri­val Al­covy at home on Wed­nes­day.

Matt Smith /The Cov­ing­ton News

East­side’s Bai­ley Ste­wart con­nects with a pitch against John­son. The Ea­gles blasted the Knights 15-2 in the home vic­tory.

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