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PREP SOFTBALL: Entire Eastside Eagles starting lineup earns region honors
Kailey Rusk
Eastside Eagles pitcher Kailey Rusk was all smiles after belting a home run over the right field fence in game two against the Upson-Lee Knights. Photo by Michael Pope.

COVINGTON, Ga - After an outstanding season by the Eastside Eagles softball team, every starter on the Eagles squad amazingly earned some region recognition in this year's all-region team.

Despite a tight Sweet 16 exit, which came against the eventual state champion Heritage Generals, The Eagles squad was one of the very best teams in AAAA ball this year, so it is no surprise to see this squad be honored across the board.

Earning first-team honors for the Eagles were third baseman Alysee Dobbs, shortstop Lauren Burnett, outfielder Natalie Ray, and catcher Heather Henderson.  

Earning second-team honors for the Eagles were outfielder Ava Anglin, outfielder Alyssa Cruz, first baseman Jakiyra Lemmon and second baseman Lauren Ellis. From a wins standpoint, this was one of the best seasons in Eagles' history, but if you feel one prominent name is missing from first-team and second-team honors, then never fear.

The glaring name missing from that list would have to be Eastside Eagles pitcher Kailey Rusk, but she was awarded top honors as she was named the Region 4-AAAA Player of the Year. 

Rusk has been the epitome of excellence for the Eastside Eagles softball team all season long, so it should come as no surprise she earned Player of the Year honors. 

Rusk's dominance has been prevalent and has done an excellent job of limiting the opposition's offensive output from the first game of the season to the Eagles' final series of their season, which came against the eventual state champions, the Heritage-Catoosa Generals.  

In that series, Rusk was her usual dominant self and only allowed three runs total runs in both games. In Game 1 of that series, she pitched nine innings and only allowed a single run, which came on a walk-off hit.

Performances like this have shown why Rusk is not just one of the best pitchers in AAAA but arguably one of the most dominant pitchers in the state.  

To end her softball career is a proud moment for the senior pitcher and brings her great joy to have earned this praise from across the region.

"It is such an honor, I was so glad to receive it," said Rusk. "I have always gotten pitcher of the year, so this year when I got player of the year, I was so happy."

Eagles head coach Heather Wood was also honored as the Region 4-AAAA head coach of the year, and she is happy to receive this honor but is more proud of her girls getting honored. 

"I'm extremely proud of this team, and to have so many on the region team shows how special this team was," said Wood. "I cannot say enough about Kailey. She's one of the best players I've had the opportunity to coach. She's been consistent for us all year and all four years."