Henderson's perfect game leads Eagles to win

COVINGTON - Eastside's Amanda Henderson pulled off her first perfect game in a pitchers' duel against Alcovy with in a 1-0 win Tuesday.

Henderson had 17 strikeouts in the victory for the Lady Eagles (3-3).

"In my opinion, Amanda Henderson is probably one of the best pitchers in the state. She's going to dominate just about every team she pitches against," Alcovy coach Casey Bates said.

"I told (my team) if you want to win ball games, you've got to make contact and put the ball in play."

However, Henderson was not the only pitcher to have a good game in the circle. Alcovy's Dallas Hardin allowed four hits while fanning four batters.

"Dallas is a good pitcher and we really haven't been hitting the ball that great," Eastside coach Jason Stokes said. "Usually early in the season we always have that. We usually don't get the bats started until midseason. I did expect it to be a close game."

Erin Steele paced Eastside at the plate with two hits. Bianca Reed and Kenya Shakoor got the other two.

Eastside threatened to score in the bottom of the fourth when Steele got the first hit of the game with a slap bunt. After getting thrown out at second base, Henderson hit into a double play when Alcovy freshman Jordan Hilty tagged Reed on her way to second before throwing Henderson out.

"We've got some aggressive freshmen that can play infield. We've got a lot of options defensively," Bates said. "(Hilty's) going to play some at third and some at second."

In the bottom of the fifth, after Shakoor reached first base, she stole second, putting her in scoring position with no outs.

Amanda Hawkins was able to lay down a bunt, getting it past a diving third baseman and allowing Shakoor, who never hesitated rounding third, to score the lone run.

"I was waving her in. The bunt was absolutely perfect," Stokes said. "When I saw the shortstop go in one direction, the third baseman in another and there was an open hole, I was sending her the whole time.

"I've been really aggressive. I've had three girls thrown out at home this year, two at third base. That's my style. I want to make (the opponent) make a good play."

Henderson was able to keep the Lady Tigers off balance the final two innings, striking out four of the last six batters and keeping her perfect game intact.

"I was really nervous about that. I didn't realize it until the sixth (inning). Then in the seventh I was like, 'Just three outs, I can do it'," Henderson said.

"It's a good feeling. Last year I pitched really well against them too. After losing all our seniors (from last year) I felt a little bit of pressure to make sure we beat them."

The loss also puts Alcovy at 3-3 for the season after going 3-2 in the Spalding Diamond Classic.

Manny Fils can be reached at manny.fils@newtoncitizen.com.