COVINGTON, Ga. — Following a postponement Monday and an hour-long lightning delay Wednesday, the Eastside High School softball team began to think it might never get to play its season opener against Jasper County.
Fortunately the skies eventually cleared, the players took their spots on the diamond and the Lady Eagles were able to open their 2020 campaign. In the end, it proved to be worth the wait.
Once the rain came to a halt, Eastside poured it on ceaselessly to the tune of a 14-1 victory over the Lady Hurricanes in four innings.
“I can’t really complain much when we scored 14 runs, we won and it’s the home opener,” head coach Heather Wood said. “But there are little things here we know we have to do better even when we have this big of a lead. We started a little slow and we get did a little sloppy, but those are things we have to deal with when you have a rain or lightning delay.”
Freshman right-hander Dezaria Johnson made her first varsity start in the circle and looked sharp from the get-go. Coming off an appearance in last week’s scrimmage against Locust Grove, Johnson allowed just one unearned run while striking out four over four innings of work.
Johnson struggled to find the zone at times — 25 of her 65 pitches were taken for balls — but Eastside plans to continue tapping into the potential of the hard-throwing transfer from Indian Creek.
“Right now we’re trying to give Dezaria as much as experience as we can and develop her as much as possible,” Wood said. “She’s thrown right into the circle as a freshman and that carries a lot of responsibility, so we’re just thankful that she threw last week and then she was able to get this game in today. The more innings she throws, the better she’s gonna be.”
The Lady Eagles made life easy on their freshman arm by providing an abundance of run support early on.
Following a walk and a single to open the home half of the first inning, sophomore Alyssa Cruz ripped a two-run double to left field to open the scoring. Eastside tacked on seven more runs that frame before piling on five more in the second inning.
Junior Lauren Burnett led the charge offensively by going 3-for-3 with 6 RBI. Fellow junior Natalie Ray also produced a multi-hit performance, finishing 2-for-3 at the dish with a pair of RBI.
Eastside will return to action Friday when it travels to Morgan County for a three-team doubleheader. The Lady Eagles are scheduled to square off against Hart County at 6:30 p.m., followed by a duel against Morgan County at 8 p.m.