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Eastside softball shows ‘grit’ in crucial Region 8-AAAAA victory over Jefferson
The Eastside Lady Eagles' dugout celebrate during one of the early innings of their contest versus Jefferson at home on Thursday, Sept. 7. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

COVINGTON, Ga. — Thursday’s matchup between Eastside and Jefferson did not lack in critical plays. When the dust settled, however, the Lady Eagles made enough plays to walk off with a 7-6, extra inning victory. 

Avery Jewell delivered the walk-off hit in the bottom of the ninth inning. 

Avery Jewell (44) hit a walk-off RBI single to score the winning run in Thursday's 7-6 win. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

Eva Davis stood at third base after she connected on a line drive to center field with just one out. 

With the score tied 6-6, it only took Jewell one pitch to bring Davis in. 

Jewell singled to center field and while she arrived at first base, Davis was crossing home plate to score the winning run. 

Players rushed out of the dugout, fans cheered and after a long night of softball, the Lady Eagles won the contest. 

After the game, head coach Heather Wood commended her team’s effort from beginning to end. 

“They showed a lot of grit at the end,” Wood said. “Everyone played a big role in this win. Everyone contributed at different times in the game. That’s what makes this team so great. That’s a big game for us in our region. We know Jefferson was undefeated in our region and our only loss has been against them. It could go either way.” 

Eastside had a strong start to the game. 

Four innings in, the Lady Eagles had a 4-0 advantage. 

In the first inning, Donee Morain and Allie Vaughn scored a wild pitch. Morain later scored off a Vaughn double in the third. Then, Vaughn came home to score off a sacrifice flyout by Dezaria Johnson. 

Eva Davis (9) drilled a triple to center field in the bottom of the ninth to place her in scoring position. She later scored the winning run. - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

But the Lady Dragons came back with a three-run fifth inning followed by a two-run sixth to tie the score 5-5.  Eastside scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning, too, when Anslee Saunchegraw crossed home plate on a fielder’s choice. 

There were other moments that didn’t go Eastside’s way, which played a part in the lengthy occasion. 

In the top of the eighth inning, Saunchgraw tried to throw a Jefferson base runner out at second base from her catcher position. The throw went past second base, into center field and allowed the runner to make it all the way home. As a result, Jefferson took a 6-5 lead. 

A Morain sacrifice fly in the bottom half scored Kaela Lay to tie the score again. 

An at-bat later, Allie Vaughn walked to load the bases with two outs. Saunchegraw grounded to the pitcher who threw Cadence McCullough out at home to keep the score 6-6. 

By game’s end, though, the Lady Eagles did enough to win their ninth game of 2023. They improve to 9-2 and avenge their Aug. 15, 5-4 loss to the Lady Dragons on the road. 

Wood has noticed areas her team has improved in from last matchup to Thursday. 

“The details of the game — the routine plays, situational hitting, being able to manufacture runs and moving runners — that part of the game is what we’ve really been working on in practice,” Wood said.

The Lady Eagles have won six straight games as well. 

Now, Eastside and Jefferson are tied for the top place in Region 8-AAAAA at 6-1. The third and final matchup between the two schools will be at Jefferson on Sept. 28. 

Wood emphasized what her team can learn from Thursday’s action to prepare for the rest of the regular season schedule. 

“Offensively, we did a great job tonight,” Wood said. “But some of the errors that we made can’t happen. It’s just that simple. Some teams, you make an error like that, it’s not that big of a deal. But, when you’re in close region games, it’s a game changer. This game, one or two plays can be the ball game.”