The Eastside Eagles varsity softball team might have needed a half-inning to get settled on Thursday against Johnson (Gainesville), but as soon as their nerves steadied, it was all Eagles in a 15-2 route that was called after just four innings.
The Eagles (6-3) surrendered a pair of unearned runs in the top half of the first, but scored 15 unanswered runs to best Johnson in out-of-region competition.
Eastside pitcher Katie Fletcher finished the contest on the mound with three strikeouts in four innings of work, surrendering just one hit and one walk in the victory.
"We made some mistakes early in the game and it seemed like we weren’t all there," Eastside head coach Jason Stokes said. "You could tell that we weren’t able to practice the day before. Despite the early struggles, I was proud of them for staying back (while hitting).
" We have had some trouble letting the ball travel and the girls did a good job of making some adjustments to the slower pitching today. We really started lining the ball and that was a positive."
The Knights opened the contest with a pair of unearned runs to take a 2-0 lead into the bottom of the first. However,, their 2-run lead was short-lived as the Eagles posted seven runs in the bottom half of the frame to take a commanding 7-2 advantage.
Cati Ray crossed the plate for Eastside’s first score of the contest on an infield single from Madison Hopper, while Hopper evened the score two batters later after reaching home on a Molly Moon fielder’s choice. The Eagles took the lead for good on a Haley Yates double to score Bailey Stewart before Yates reached home on a Knights’ fielding error to give Eastside a 4-2 lead.
The Eagles added three more runs in the frame on a Ray blast past the Knights’ outfielders, scoring Taylor Smith, Madison Whitsett and Ally Allgood. Ray was thrown out at home trying to stretch a triple into a home run to close the inning.
Both teams remained scoreless in the second and third innings before the Eagles added eight runs to their total in the fourth.
Hopper picked up her second and third RBIs on the day with a double, scoring Ray and Taz Powell to extend the Eagles’ advantage to 9-2. Scoring knocks from Bailey Stewart and Smith added three more runs to the Eagles’ total, pushing their lead to 10 runs.
Yates crossed home on another Knights’ fielding error before Ray closed the game with a 2-RBI single, giving the Eagles their sixth victory of the season.
Hopper finished the day 2-for-3 at the dish with three RBIs, while Smith also picked up two hits and two RBIs in the win.
The Eagles will return to action next week, traveling to Lumpkin on Tuesday before hosting county rival Alcovy at home on Wednesday.