COVINGTON, Ga. — On the day the calendar flipped to October, the month which will culminate the 2020 softball season with the state tournament, Eastside maintained its position as one of four playoff contenders from Region 8-AAAAA.
The Lady Eagles played host to region rival Loganville and earned a doubleheader split. The visiting Lady Devils captured a 4-2 victory in Game 1, but the nightcap belonged to Eastside, which powered its way to a 9-5 win.
At the end of the night, the Lady Eagles found themselves at 10-9 overall and 6-5 in league play. They’re currently slotted at No. 4 in the region, trailing Walnut Grove (13-7, 11-1), Loganville (15-8, 9-3) and Apalachee (16-4, 6-4).
Loganville 4, Eastside 2
The first meeting between the two local programs this season saw the Lady Devils squeak out a 1-0 decision on their home diamond. It was a day in which the Lady Eagles were stellar defensively and in the circle, but couldn’t muster enough offense — squandering six runners on base — to compete.
Game 1 of Thursday’s doubleheader followed a similar storyline.
Following three scoreless frames, Loganville finally broke through for a pair of runs in the fourth inning. Madison Keener led things off with a single and later came around to score on Katie Plummer’s infield RBI knock. Plummer would later score on a fielding error, giving Loganville a 2-0 advantage.
Eastside never recovered.
The Lady Devils pushed another pair of runs across in the fifth inning — thanks to an error and groundout, respectively — to double their lead. The Lady Eagles would break up the shutout late, but the hole proved too large to escape.
“Once Loganville scored first, the momentum starting going their way,” Eastside head coach Heather Wood said. “We’ve got to be stronger, understand that’s going to happen and just respond a lot better than we did the first game.”
Eastside 9, Loganville 5
The Lady Eagles had a strong response at the plate in Game 2. They came out swinging early and pounded Loganville’s pitching for five runs in the first two innings.
A trio of consecutive singles off the bats of juniors Megan Coggins, Lauren Burnett and Heather Henderson set Eastside up with the bases loaded and one out in the first inning. Freshman Dezaria Johnson drew a walk to bring in the first run of the game, and a fielder’s choice scored another to make it 2-0.
Coggins collected an RBI single in the second inning before a fielding error committed by Loganville allowed Eastside to extend its lead to 5-1.
The Lady Eagles finished the game with nine runs on nine hits and capitalized on Loganville’s three errors. Coggins (2-for-4) and Burnett (2-for-4) finished with multi-hit games, alongside fellow junior Natalie Ray (2-for-3).
With just two weeks remaining in the regular season, Eastside will try to make up ground lost early in the season due to inclement weather and COVID-19 complications. The club is scheduled to play seven games between Monday, Oct. 5 and Tuesday, Oct. 13.
As the Lady Eagles make a push for the postseason, they’ll also be looking to establish consistency in a season that has been anything but ordinary.
“We’ve had to start and stop so much with rainouts and the beginning of the season, so we’re ready to start playing consistently. We’re looking to get in a groove and do whatever we can to make that first round of playoffs,” Wood said. “We know the competition is not going to get any easier, so we’ve just got to get ready to go and compete.”