By DOUG GORMAN
The East Coweta Lady Indians punched their ticket to the Class 7A Sweet Sixteen softball tournament next week with an easy sweep over visiting North Cobb Tuesday afternoon in the first-round opener.
East Coweta, the defending Class 7A champions, put their scoring machine on autopilot against the visitors from Kennesaw pushing 26 runs across the plate in the two games that were both called by the mercy rule.
North Cobb wasn’t as lucky getting shutout in both contest. East Coweta won the first game 10-0 in a game called after the top of the fifth and rolled to a 16-0 victory in a game called after three innings in game two of the best-of-three series.
East Coweta senior Kelley Lynch, the game one starter, threw three innings, striking out all nine batters she faced.
Jaliyah Holmes pitched the final two innings for the Lady Indians, giving up just two hits and striking out three to help give East Coweta the victory.
“We wanted to conserve Kelley a little bit so we pulled her out after the third inning and Jaliyah came in and did a great job,” East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach said.
After getting held off the scoreboard in the first inning of game one, East Coweta scored three times in the second and seven times in the third.
The third-inning offensive fireworks helped East Coweta batted around.
Lynch and Katie Taylor each had a double in game one and Prior a triple.
After Lynch turned the ball over to Holmes to pitch the final two innings, she stayed in the game at shortstop. However after her double, she was i= walked each time she came to the plate in both game one and two.
Prior led the game-one offense with two hits and three RBIs.
Kenadie Cooper and Ansley Gunter each had two RBIs in the first game.
Lily Agan, Byers and Cook also knocked in a run.
With a steady rain coming down in game two, the biggest challenge for East Coweta was how to keep the field dry.
Play was stopped several times to manucure the field, but the wet conditions didn’t stop the Lady Indians from advancing to the second round after they were determined to finish the game Tuesday afternoon.
Had game two been rained out, it would have had to start over from the beginning.
It’s all so Homecoming week at East Coweta and the last thing DeLoach wanted to have to do was come back on Wednesday or Thursday to complete the series.
“I learned this a long time ago that Homecoming is a big deal for these girls,” he said. It’s supposed to rain on Wednesday and we have a Homecoming parade on Thursday, so I am just glad we got it over with.”
East Coweta batted first in the second game and after scoring five times in the second, the Lady Indians exploded for 11 runs in the second.
Pitcher Aniston Wright overcame pitching in the wet conditions to pick up the win with a one-hit five strikeout performance.
Three different players finished with three RBIs in the nightcap for the Lady Indians, including Olivia Cook who belted a three-run homer.
Prior and Cooper also had three RBIs. Byers drove in two runs en route to the win.
East Coweta will play the winner of the Colquitt-Cherokee series next week with the winner advancing to the Elite 8 in Columbus.