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Eastside advances after sweep of Harlem

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COVINGTON -- It was a tough defensive struggle but in the end the Lady Eagles were able to top the GACA Class AAA No. 9 team to win their first playoff round with a 2-1 and 1-0 eight inning win over Harlem on Wednesday.

The Lady Eagles scored all of their runs in their last at bat in each game.

The first game was truly a defensive battle as neither team gave in to being scored upon. Getting a hit was so tough for the Lady Bulldogs that they did not get a base hit until Haley Mayes connected with the ball in the top of the sixth. However, Harlem was able to get two more hits in the inning to take a 1-0 lead.

But their lead did not last long as Victoria Reich drove the ball to the bottom of the fence in deep center field for a RBI double to plate Erin Steele. The next batter, Amanda Hawkins, put her hit in the same area to bring Reich around for the game-winning run.

The second game, which remained scoreless through regulation, was decided when Steele scored in the eighth inning.

Even though Harlem threatened in the bottom of the eighth, Taylor Causey's pitching was good enough to keep the Lady Bulldogs from scoring.

Eastside had a chance to score early as it had runners in scoring position. But instead of scoring twice in the first inning of the second game the runners were thrown out at home plate.

"We made some mistakes and we're going to work on that, but I'd rather not talk about that. We want to focus on the positive," Eastside head coach Jason Stokes said.

Causey finished the doubleheader giving up six hits while striking out 15 batters and walking seven while hitting one batsman. Not too bad considering she was not feeling well.

"Taylor, that was a humongous performance, she was sick and felt awful. But she knew what was on the line. She sucked it up. I didn't plan on pitching her except for the first game. But she told me she was good to go and her arm felt great," Stokes said.

At the plate, Savannah Upshaw and Hawkins paced the Lady Eagles with two hits each while every other batter had one hit each. Eastside finished the game with 11 hits, including two doubles, while being walked five times while only striking out seven times.

"I'm very, very proud of the girls. We hit a lot of balls in play and they are a very good defensive team," Stokes said. The only blunder they had was the pitcher in the last inning."