CLINCHPORT — Eastside stayed on the straight path to possible back-to-back state softball championships Friday with a 4-3 victory over Castlewood in the Cumberland District tournament final.
It wasn’t easy.
Lady Spartans pitcher Lindsey Dean shook off a rough first inning in which she allowed two runs on three hits. She rebounded to retire the next 14 batters.
“We didn’t play our best today,” Dean said. “It’s always a good to get a win against them. It is always a rivalry when we play them.”
Castlewood began building its 2-0, first-inning lead with back-to-back singles by Kacie Jessee and Haley Crabtree. Jessee came home on Ashley Fugate’s infield RBI single, and Crabtree followed Jessee across home plate on a throwing error.
Eastside tied it at 2 with single runs in the third and fourth innings off RBI singles by Dean and Keely Atwood.
The Lady Spartans took a 4-2 lead with a two-run fifth that came courtesy of RBIs from Sam Cole and Erin Stanley.
“Castlewood played a really good game. We came out sort of lackluster and non-focused but did just enough to win,” said Eastside coach Suzy Atwood.
The Lady Blue Devils didn’t go quietly, threatening in the seventh inning.
Lexie Kennedy’s single to right field led to a two-base error, and Kennedy landed on third with no outs. One batter later, she scored on Kelsie Fields’ groundout.
Dean came through for her team by retiring the next two batters for the win. She finished the game having allowed five hits and struck out 10.
“Lindsey kept us in the game. She threw really well. Even though we didn’t get the ball in play like we wanted,” Atwood added.
Cole got on base in each of her three at-bats. She scored two runs after reaching on a walk, an infield single and a two-base error.
In the consolation game, Rye Cove defeated Twin Springs 7-3.
Lucindy Lawson went 3-for-3 with two doubles and an RBI to lead the Lady War Eagles.
Taylor Bishop scored three runs and Regina Carter accounted for two. Each went 1-for-3 at the plate.
Region D seeding will take place Sunday, with play beginning Tuesday.