COVINGTON, Ga. — Coming off a disappointing 9-1 loss to Loganville, and going 2-3 in their last five games, the Eastside Eagles softball team, whom many have considered one of the best in in the area, easily knocked off region 4-AAAA foe Woodward Academy in just three innings by a dominating 15-0 margin.
Head coach Heather Wood was more than pleased with her team’s huge win over a school that many consider to be Eastside’s chief non-local rival across many sports.
“Recently, I feel like in the last two or three years, Woodward has become a pretty big rival for us,” she said. “We’re always excited to play them, especially at home, so we wanted to get started off on the right foot early in the season and region play.”
It may not come as a surprise to many that highly touted starting pitcher, Kailey Rusk tossed five strikeouts in the first two innings, but her team did not open up the scoring until the second.
The first runs came at the hands of a Natalie Ray triple that brought in Kendel Mcauliffe and Kelsey Ellis. A catcher’s error sent Ray to home plate as well, giving the Lady Eagles a 3-0 lead heading into the top of the third.
Those three runs would be considered a “slow start” in comparison to how the rest of the game went — something that Wood believed was due to getting accustomed to the opposing pitcher.
“It took us a while to get adjusted to the pitcher’s speed,” she said. “We knew that would happen, but they ended up making the adjustments and we were pretty solid on defense.”
As the bottom of the third began, the team’s adjustment was on full display as the floodgates opened on the scoreboard.
Not only were there several instances where the bases loaded, causing simple walks to score runs, but the onslaught was highlighted by hits from Kelsey Ellis, Rusk, Ava Anglin and a three-run double from Dani Fairey, who also provided the games 15th and final run before the run rule was called.
Wood noted that it was nice to see her girls bounce back from the tough Loganville defeat in short order, but she knows that there is still plenty of season left, including a busy weekend with three games in two days against Social Circle (3-2) and Heritage (6-4).
“We needed this game to build some momentum,” she said. “We need to be put in a lot of situations defensively, and those tough games are what we need right now at this point in the season.