Prep Softball: Eagles trying to chase down Spartans
Central Davidson remains the team to beat in Central Carolina Conference softball, but a team donning black and gold is breathing down their necks.
A consistently good softball program, East Davidson has the offense to take down the mighty Spartans in 2013. If the pitching can hold up, the rematch in Southmont April 19 could be interesting. Central won the first affair, outlasting the Golden Eagles 12-8 in a slugfest that was tied moving to the seventh inning.
“They are motivated even more to go out and get a win,” said second-year head coach of the Eagles, Amanda Akins. “We always know it is going to be a good game between us. That was a hitting derby to see who could outhit who, so they have been working even harder to prepare for that next game. The girls were disappointed with that loss but have kept their heads up.”
East stands at 8-4 on the year and is 3-1 in league play, one game back of the Spartans. With its recent 15-5 win over West Davidson, EDHS has distanced itself from the rest of the conference along with CDHS. As long as there are no hiccups from either until the next meeting, the conference title will likely be either shared or won outright on that Friday evening.
Offensive production has been the steady force for the Eagles. The top of the lineup is loaded with players that can hit for power and average. Andrea Grant leads the team with five home runs, while Morgan Gallimore, Bailey Jones and Natalie Naturile have also went deep and can hit lasers all over the ballpark.
“The top half of my order can really hit the ball,” said Akins. “At the plate we have scored a lot of runs and that has helped us out.”
Pitching has been a bit of a weakness for the club. Haley Ray is the staff ace, using off-speed pitches and location to be effective. She is not overpowering, though, so when the ball is left over the plate the offense can take advantage. But when Ray is on she can have great games and is a good bat in the lineup. Brooke Walser backs her up and is getting acquainted with pitching at the varsity level. She had her best outing in the game against the Green Dragons.
Familiarity has perhaps been the secret ingredient to success. The Eagles returned several players from last year, and what was a young team the previous spring is an experienced group this time around.
“My returning players a large number of them are seniors,” said Akins. “They know what they want their goals to be and that has helped motivate these younger kids.”
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.