Wednesday night’s battle between hometown rivals ended with the Eastside softball team taking a 7-0 victory over the Newton Rams at home.
After three quick outs by Newton in the first inning, the Eagles took over at the bottom of the inning. With two outs, Eastside’s Kailey Rusk notched the first hit of the game and ran to second base when a hit by catcher Alysee Dobbs helped send the freshman first baseman home for a 1-0 lead.
The Rams kept the game close in the second inning, with help from their freshman pitcher Grace Dial, who recorded three strikeouts up to this point, but a quick hit by senior Ally Allgood in the bottom of the third gave the Eagles a two-run lead.
Momentum continued to turn in Eastside’s favor when several Newton errors and a tricky call by umpires that saved Coley Edwards’ run to third base led to a four-run fourth inning for the Eagles. Edwards, Allgood, McKenzie Walker and Ashleigh Williams all stole home plate in the inning.
“We had several errors, and we held them close, but we just kind of took our heads out of the game and we didn’t hit the ball like we were supposed to on the flip side,” said Newton head coach Shandria Usher. “Sometimes, that’s just how it happens. This was kind of like our second real game, so we’re kind of getting into the swing of things. Other than that, I think we played well besides giving them that one earned run.”
With only one of their seven runs being earned, the Eagles came away with a sneaky victory over the Rams.
“I thought we had a great team effort tonight,” said Eastside head coach Heather Wood. “We still need to do a better job of adjusting to pitchers. It took us about one time through before we made those adjustments, so we still need to work on adjusting a little bit better and quicker with the pitchers. But I thought overall our defense was solid, Lauren [Beshears] threw well, and we were aggressive on base running. Fortunately, there were a couple mishaps, but we were fortunate it went our way.”
Senior Eastside pitcher Beshears had an outstanding night on the mound, ending the ballgame with 16 strikeouts.
“Lauren threw extremely well for us,” Wood said. “She was hitting her spots tonight. I thought she did a good job of keeping the batters off balance. She had a great game, and I’m proud of her for her performance tonight.”
Eastside’s batters also out swung the Rams, as the Eagles ended the night with 14 hits versus Newton’s four. Newton’s two pitchers, Dial and Brittney Ellis, had five combined strikeouts.
“We’ll be focused on hitting and a little bit more fielding,” said Usher. “We’re trying to get into the swing of things. We’re moving people around in positions, and it’s still the beginning of the season. We’re just going to go up from here. We have a region game tomorrow, so we have to fight back and keep pushing through, and we have to swing the bat more.”
Newton returns to action Thursday night with a region matchup against Grayson at 7 p.m., while Eastside will face region opponent Henry County at home at 5:30 p.m.