How the game was won: East­side vs. Al­covy

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

In case you missed it, East­side topped Al­covy 5-4 in an early even­ing matchup that show­cased tal­ent on both teams, but also shed a light on ar­eas of im­prove­ment. We break down the strengths and weak­nesses for both teams as of right now.

East­side

For East­side be­ing 5-0 with a pair of run-ruled blowout wins and a con­vinc­ing win over Al­covy, it might seem to the naked eye that there is no room for im­prove­ment. How­ever, head coach Heather Wood would dis­agree.

There were mul­ti­ple in­stances where the Lady Ea­gles at­tempted to lay down a bunt, but came up un­suc­cess­ful. In the bot­tom of the fourth with a runner on, two straight bunts turned into pop outs be­hind the plate.

“I think they had great ef­fort they stayed up

through­out the game and I ap­pre­ci­ate that as a coach,” Wood said. “I was very dis­ap­pointed in our ex­e­cu­tion on the bunts and also our men­tal ap­proach at the plate, but over­all I am proud of them for not lay­ing down and shut­ting down early. We were able to stay up through­out the game.

Mak­ing con­tact wasn’t the is­sue for the Ea­gles. It was be­ing able to get the bunt down the base­line that caused them trou­ble. Go­ing for­ward, East­side plans to prac­tice on the phys­i­cal and men­tal as­pect of bunting.

“We’ll just con­tinue to prac­tice that and just re­in­force that at prac­tice. Also work on our men­tal ap­proach at the plate,” Wood said.

As far as their hit­ting goes, the Lady Ea­gles can def­i­nitely put the bat on the ball. They faced a tough pitcher in Al­covy’s Kalia John­son, which re­sulted in some spotty hit­ting.

“I think it was all men­tal. I think we need to be bet­ter pre­pared when we face good pitch­ing and Kalia is a great pitcher. So I think that we have to come up with a game­plan any­time we face pitch­ing like that,” Wood said.

Al­covy

The nar­ra­tive for the Tigers’ keys to suc­cess go­ing for­ward is a bit dif­fer­ent.

The Tigers were able to put run­ners in scor­ing po­si­tion mul­ti­ple times through­out the game. They just couldn’t put the nail in the cof­fin.

When asked how the team planned on cap­i­tal­iz­ing on those missed op­por­tu­ni­ties go­ing for­ward, head coach Brandy Keeter said, “Just work­ing to move the run­ners around and play­ing ABC base­ball. Get­ting our bunts and stuff down.”

Men­tal tough­ness and re­solve won’t be a prob­lem for the Tigers. De­spite be­ing down 5-1 at one point, the team never gave up even af­ter hear­ing Ea­gles fans cheer­ing loudly for their team. When John­son blasted a three-run homer, it seemed the mo­men­tum was in the Tigers’ fa­vor.

“I’m glad that they didn’t give up. We kept fight­ing and one hit and we’re back in it,” Keeter said.

That pretty much summed up the game for Al­covy: one hit and they’re back in it. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Tigers who were down 2-1 at the time, coach Wood called time.

“I went out there, I talked to the girls and just told them to keep their heads up and to get tough,” Wood said. That’s what they did.

Al­covy popped out to end the in­ning. If the Tigers were able to muster up just one more run in that in­ning, it might have been a dif­fer­ent ball game.

Sha­keem Hol­loway /The Cov­ing­ton News

Sha­keem Hol­loway /The Cov­ing­ton News

The Tigers rushed home plate to cel­e­brate Kalia John­son’s three-run homer that brought the Tigers within one run.

Sha­keem Hol­loway /The Cov­ing­ton News

Tigers’ head coach Brandy Keeter looks on as her team is up to bat.

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