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Causey's hit lifts Lady Eagles past Jackson 5-4
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JACKSON — When Taylor Causey returned to Eastside's softball team two weeks ago, head coach Jason Stokes knew he was getting his staff ace back. But his team's best hitter too?

Causey went the distance Monday and notched eight strikeouts but it was her bat that proved to be the difference. She went 3-for-4 and drove in the winning run with a single in the bottom of the seventh to power the Lady Eagles past Jackson 5-4 in the opening round of the Region 4-AAA tournament.

It took five tries, but Eastside softball finally beat its nemesis. After losing their four previous matchups — including twice in last year's region tournament and twice in extra innings, the Lady Eagles finally broke through while positioning themselves for a possible region championship. But the win didn't come easy.

As in games past against Jackson, Eastside had a lead only to lose it late. After spotting the Lady Red Devils two runs in the first thanks to some shoddy defense, Eastside built a 4-2 lead only to watch it evaporate on one swing.


"For some reason they are our Kryptonite — and I don't get it," Eastside coach Jason Stokes said. "I feel like we a much better ballclub than they are all the way around but they just seem to always come up with the big hit in the right situation."

Jackson scored two runs in the first inning on a pair of errors and two singles. Eastside wasn't the only team to struggle in the field though. Jackson's poor fielding led to a run in the first inning and three in the third and also played into the winning run.

On Causey's sharp single, the right fielder misplayed the ball and it skipped past her all the way to the fence. Amanda Hawkins, who led off the inning with a single up the middle, came all the way around from first and scored without a throw.

"As good of a game as it was to play in, it was a little sloppy," Stokes said. "We had an error late that could have hurt us as well. Even though they kicked the ball around, we just never have been able to get enough (runs) to get away from them."

Up 4-2 with two outs in the fifth, Moore's bomb gave Jackson new life and the Red Devils looked like they were poised to stun Eastside once again.

Causey shook off the home run to send Jackson away quietly in the sixth then worked out of a jam in the seventh. With One out, Causey walked a batter then gave up a single to put runners at first and third. She battled back to get the next two batters and preserve the tie before delivering the game-winning hit in the seventh.

"I thought, here we go again. I honestly thought maybe that would affect us but the girls seemed really upbeat (after the home run)," Stokes said. "She (Causey) is as cool as a cucumber. It seems like nothing ever rattles her. Even is something goes good, you get no expression from her. She's the definition of cool and calm."

The win comes on the heels of Eastside's torrid finish to the regular season. The Lady Eagles won their final six games including one over perennial contender St. Pius X last week.

"We're coming off a pretty good run and I think that (win) will just catapult us," Stokes said. "If we lose to them, I think it puts a pretty good dent in the armor. So I'm really relieved that we got by them."

Eastside played Locust Grove yesterday. That story can be found online.

Kaitlyn Moore deposited a Causey fastball over the right field fence with a runner on to knot the game at four in the top of the fifth and it appeared as if the two teams were headed for another extra-inning affair.