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Posted: September 20, 2011 8:35 p.m.

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Causey strikes out all nine in return to lead Lady Eagles to 15-0 win

Eastside ace Taylor Causey made her return to the mound Tuesday and it's safe to say, things went well. Causey struck out all but the first batter she faced, the offense tallied 15 runs on 13 hits and the Lady Eagles cruised to a 15-0 win over Stockbridge in three innings and snapped a three-game skid in the process.

Causey missed all but three games coming into the game due to a back injury but you would have never known it based on the way she pitched. After giving up a walk to Stockbridge's leadoff hitter in the first inning, she struck out the side then repeated the feat in the second and third innings.

"She walked the first batter then looked like she put it in cruise control," Eastside coach Jason Stokes said. "It doesn't take long when you've been pitching so long to get back in that groove."

Meanwhile, Eastside's offense used small ball to put away the punchless Lady Tigers and improve to 13-9 (4-2 Region 4-AAA) and into third place. The Lady Eagles took advantage of Stockbridge's lack

"It was good for us because we haven't been bunting the ball very well," Stokes said. "I took it as an opportunity to work on getting our bunts down. I wasn't trying to rub it in or anything like that. I just looked at it as an opportunity to work on some things."

Not every player went up there to bunt. Amanda Hawkins drove two runs on a pair of hard-hit doubles and Almand also laced a single to plate a run. Katie Fletcher also came up with an extra-base hit in the second on a two-run triple to right.

Causey needed little run support. She used all of her pitches effectively and shook off the first-inning walk to dominate the Lady Tigers the rest of the way.

"She hadn't pitched in a long time so it was good for her to get back out there and workout the kinks," Stokes said. "We have to work on her endurance. We're not going to bring her back quickly. She may pitch Thursday and maybe one game this weekend."

With only a handful of games left before the region tournament, the Lady Eagles need their staff ace ready. The 20-game winner from a year ago led the region in strikeouts and was named pitcher of the year while leading Eastside to state tournament in Columbus.

"Time is the thing that's against us because we don't have many games left," Stokes said. "But I can't bring her back full speed. The idea is to work her back slowly and see ho she feels. If she feels like she can go, we'll let her go. But I am definitely going to monitor that closely."

While getting Causey is sure to be an emotional boost, Stokes knows she is only a small piece of the puzzle if the Lady Tigers are going to make another playoff run.

"We have to hit," he said. "When we don't hit, we don't play well. That's the bottom line. We have to hit better the rest of the way."

luster defense to score five runs in the first and nine in the second before plating the game-winner in the third on a Emily Almand's groundout. Of their 13 hits, eight were bunt singles.

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