Eastside one game away from state finals
Lady Eagles take both games of doubleheader

COLUMBUS - The Eastside Lady Eagles are one game away playing for the Class AAA state championship after beating Worth County 6-0 and Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe on Thursday.

The Lady Eagles are scheduled to play Oconee County at 5 p.m. today.

In their two games, Eastside pitcher Amanda Henderson added 30 strikeouts to her total, surpassing former Heritage pitcher Brittany Shepherd who was in eighth place with 324 strikeouts in one season.

Henderson's 343 strikeouts puts her at No. 7 on the list of most strikeouts in one season.

"She did a great job. She's probably throwing better then any pitcher right now," Eastside coach Heather Wood said. "I think that Amanda is turning it on at the right time."

When the Lady Eagles were in Class AAAA, Lakeview-Ft. Oglethorpe seemed to have Eastside's number. Now that both schools are in Class AAA, it seems that things have changed.

"It feels great to beat them," Wood said. "We didn't get down the whole game and we were able to execute our short game."

Neither team was able to take advantage of the other team's pitcher until the top of the fifth inning when Eastside put the first run on the board.

Kayla Jones got things started with a one-out triple into the right-field corner. Henderson put Jones across the plate with a suicide squeeze for the lead.

Eastside was unable to put more runs on the board as they left the bases loaded.

"I wish we could have done a little bit better in our short game," Wood said.

In the first game, Worth County held the Lady Eagles scoreless through four innings. Eastside had chances to score, but they were either caught stealing, got picked off or left runners on.

That was until Bri Chambers scored from first base on a Worth County throwing error.

Eastside kept the game close until the sixth inning when the Lady Eagles exploded with five runs.

Erica Bruno started the scoring off an Erica Cronic ground-rule double. Cronic gave the Lady Eagles a 3-0 lead on an error. Also crossing the plate were Jones, Sierra Petree and Henderson.

Henderson and Cronic paced the Lady Eagles on the first day of the tournament with three hits each, followed by Chambers and Jones with two each.

However, both of Jones' hits went for triples.

"She's doing a great job and she's coming along at the right time of the season," Wood said. "She has one of the highest batting averages."

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils