LOCAL BRIEFS: Alford, Phillips lead Panthers

TUSCALOOSA, ALA -- Callie Alford keeps rolling for the Georgia State softball team. The freshman from Heritage had another big, extra-base hit for the Panthers, clubbing a three-run home run in the opening inning of a 6-1 win over Drexel that completed a sweep last weekend. Alford followed that with a two-RBI night as Georgia State stunned ESPN/USA Today softball No. 2 Alabama in Tuscaloosa on Tuesday.

In the win over the Crimson Tide, Whitney Phillips, also a former Heritage stand out, tied the game with a bases-loaded single.

Alford, who has hit in the middle of the Panthers' order for much of her rookie campaign, leads the team in RBIs (34) and has hit six home runs while getting on base at a .392 clip. Phillips, a junior infielder, is hitting .286 in 38 games and has a team-high 10 stolen bases.

Sheppard names SIAC Freshman of the Year

ATLANTA -- Former Newton softball players Markea Sheppard continued her performance where she left off after recently being named the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.

Sheppard, of Claflin University, led the SIAC with 13 home runs and 56 RBIs, a .910 slugging percentage and a .455 batting average, which ranks second and sixth in the SIAC respectively. The freshman third baseman, who recorded 44 hits this season, was also third in the conference with 61 hits and 14 doubles while ranking fourth with four triples.

Lady Eagles best Luella on Senior Night

COVINGTON -- The Eastside girls soccer team jumped on Luella taking a 3-0 lead less than 18 minutes on their way to a 5-3 win for Senior Night at Cousins Middle School on Wednesday.

Appropriately, senior Amber Lafond scored three goals and senior Tara Harrison assisted on the eventual game winner by Sarah Gaddis.

Freshman Alli Coberth opened the scoring with a goal off a ball from Alex Morvik at the 36:30 mark. Eight minutes later, Lafond scored off a throw-in from Harrison. The same combination worked on another goal with 22:42 left in the first half to make it 3-0.

Luella got on the board with 3:47 left in the first half when Daneisha Paschal scored on a hard struck ball that Eastside keeper Carly Farrow managed to get a hand on but could not stop.

With less than two minutes into the second half, Harrison sent a long ball into the scoring area that Gaddis headed up and over the charging Lady Lions keeper to make it 4-1.

Following a lady Lions goal, Eastside made it 5-2 when senior Savannah Hill assisted on a goal by Lafond whose shot careened off the back of fellow senior Emily House on its way in to the net with 24:56 left to be played.

Paschal completed her hat trick less than two minutes remaining in the game.-- From staff reports