Squad up

Lady Ea­gles hold first soft­ball alumni game

The Covington News - - SPORTS - SHAKEEM HOL­LOWAY shol­loway@cov­news.com

T he East­side High School soft­ball alumni re­turned on Satur­day for the first an­nual alumni game, but also to sup­port the Wright fam­ily. James Wright was trag­i­cally in­jured in a car ac­ci­dent and left par­a­lyzed. The pro­ceeds of the game went to the Wright fam­ily.

The day saw for­mer Ea­gles from dif­fer­ent eras con­vene for a good cause and a lot of fun. The home team won 4-3. Both sides were smil­ing af­ter, be­cause although they both wanted to win, there were big­ger things at play this time, things like Kim and James Wright’s fam­ily.

“James is just a goofy light­hearted kid,” Kim Wright said. “James is han­dling this in an amaz­ing way. He’s just light­hearted, he’s still got his hu­mor and his great per­son­al­ity. He’s still got a big smile on his face, and when you talk to him you don’t see the chair, you just see him.”

“That was awe­some, con­sid­er­ing ev­ery­thing that hap­pened,” James Wright added. “It was also cool see­ing my sis­ter cause I used to come to games like this when I was [younger]. It’s pretty awe­some.”

“It re­ally is amaz­ing,” Kim Wright said. “Some­one told me not to long ago that my fam­ily in­spired them, and the truth of the mat­ter is, my fam­ily is just do­ing what any

fam­ily would do. We take care of our own. But the com­mu­nity, the peo­ple we haven’t talked to in 10, 15 years have come to­gether and re­ally sup­ported us. That’s what’s in­spir­ing, that’s ex­tra­or­di­nary. To have a com­mu­nity that’s will­ing to come in and sac­ri­fice their time and do this for peo­ple that – we don’t nec­es­sar­ily de­serve it – that’s amaz­ing.”

“Every­one pay­ing it for­ward to us, it’s re­ally go­ing to pay div­i­dends in the fu­ture. It’s changed us, made us more com­pas­sion­ate and sym­pa­thetic to other peo­ple’s needs.”

Kim Wright added that the ac­tual game was pretty fun, and that you can pen­cil her in ev­ery year if it con­tin­ues.

“It’s great just be­ing out here. The alumni thing I hope we do it ev­ery year just for the team,” Kim Wright said. “I’ll be here ev­ery year.”

See­ing as the Lady Ea­gles have a his­tory of win­ning, it shouldn’t be a sur­prise that the alumni game was ex­tremely com­pet­i­tive and came down to the last in­ning.

Amanda Hen­der­son, a re­cent Ken­ne­saw State grad­u­ate who still has a lot left in the tank pitched for the away team. It’s im­por­tant to note Hen­der­son went 18-10 in her se­nior sea­son with a 2.56 ERA. Hen­der­son pitched the en­tire game and even gave her team a chance to win as they held a lead at the top of the fi­nal in­ning, but there was no an­swer for Ash­ley Coles.

Coles, a for­mer Lady Ea­gle, and cur­rent crosstown ri­val New­ton head soft­ball coach, was eas­ily her team’s most valu­able player. Coles, who pitched a com­plete game, held the away team to three runs as a pitcher. On of­fense, Coles was re­spon­si­ble for all four of the home team’s runs in­clud­ing the game win­ner which she man­u­fac­tured off of a bunt.

Coles’ bunt was laid down the first base line, but was re­cov­ered by the pitcher who threw it to first just as Coles reached base. The um­pire waited a few sec­onds be­fore sig­nal­ing Coles as safe, but once he did the team erupted with joy.

As for her re­turn to East­side, Coles said she was happy to be back sur­rounded by friends and for­mer team­mates.

“It’s dif­fer­ent,” Coles said. “I loved East­side when I was there and I still do at heart be­cause of all the girls and ev­ery­thing. But I am a New­ton Ram and I love it be­cause it’s a good com­pe­ti­tion. I think it’s friendly be­cause I have friends here (East­side) but they also know I’m all about New­ton right now.”

“It feels great to come back and do things to­geth- er as alumni be­cause these were our friends. We’re all so spread out. We’re in our own lives hav­ing kids and all that stuff, but now we get to come back and just have a good time,” Coles said. “As far as rais­ing money for a good cause, it’s a great thing to be able to do that. Kim Wright has al­ways been a great girl, and I’m so glad that we were able to help her fam­ily in a time of need.”

Cur­rent Lady Ea­gles’ head coach, Heather Wood was one of the cat­a­lyst for the event. She helped or­ga­nize the en­tire thing.

“We are just so ex­cited to have the alumni come back,” Wood said. “They’ve done so much for this pro­gram in the past. This is just a small thank you that we can give them for what they’ve done for our pro­gram. My way of look­ing at is that they paved the way for these girls who are play­ing now so any­thing that we can do to honor them and also go to a good cause for the Wright fam­ily.”

Shakeem Hol­loway /The Cov­ing­ton News

Shakeem Hol­loway/The Cov­ing­ton News

The Lady Ea­gles alumni took a photo be­fore the game.

Pho­tos by Shakeem Hol­loway /The Cov­ing­ton News

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