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Eastside one win from region championship

JACKSON -- The Lady Eagles are just one win away from winning their third region championship title in four years after a convincing 7-1 win over Locust Grove on Tuesday.

Eastside will play the winner of the Locust Grove-Spalding game today at 6:30 p.m. for the championship in the double-elimination tournament. If the Lady Eagles win, they will be crowned Region 4-AAA champions. A loss forces a deciding game on Thursday at 4:30 p.m.

Eastside's hitters struggled against Locust Grove's pitcher the first time around the order. But the second time they faced her, it was a totally different situation.

Amanda Hawkins got things started in the top of the fourth inning after being hit by a pitch. She was driven home for the first run on a Taylor Causey double. After a hit by Savannah Upshaw moved the runner to third, Emily Almand's unselfish play brought her home with a sacrifice bunt. Upshaw made it a 3-0 game off a Victoria Reich double to give the Lady Eagles all the runs they needed.

The Lady Wildcats came back to close the gap with a run in the home half of the inning but Eastside head coach Jason Stokes was not worried about a possible comeback.

"We played them three times last year and they didn't score but one run against us. They scored two against us this year so we feel very comfortable with a lead against that particular team. They haven't been able to hit us very well," he said.

Eastside put the game totally out of reach by scoring four times in the fifth inning. The first two runs came off walks with bases loaded before Almand hit a sacrifice fly for her second RBI to give Eastside a 6-1 lead.

"She was wild and we were disciplined at the plate there for a span. She did help us out a good bit," Stokes said.

Offensively, Causey paced the Lady Eagles at the plate going 2-for-3 as Eastside had a total of five hits. However, they were patient at the plate as they were walked four times, were hit by the pitcher twice and took advantage of three Locust Grove errors.

"We struggled against (Winters) the first time we played them," Stokes said. "I think we had one or two hits. I'm really, really proud of the way we were swinging the bats."

Causey got the win, allowing four hits while walking two batters and striking out 10.