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Eastside freshman Hamilton fires complete-game shutout

Kevin Mays • Mar 23, 2019 at 2:32 AM

BIG STONE GAP — Tinley Hamilton’s first start on the varsity level was an impressive one.

The Eastside freshman threw a complete-game, two-hit shutout in the Lady Spartans’ 7-0 victory over Class 2 and Wise County rival Union on Friday.

“She did great. She did a wonderful job,” said Eastside softball coach Suzi Atwood.

Hamilton pitched in relief in Eastside’s 4-3, season-opening loss to Gate City last week. But Friday, Atwood decided to go with the left-hander in the Lady Spartans’ first road game of the season.

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“She was a little nervous the last time we put her on the mound and so this time we said we’re starting you,” Atwood said. “She has really just grown up a lot in about a week.”

Hamilton surrendered only a single to Heather Lipps in the sixth inning and a single to Zoe Brooks in the seventh.

The Lady Bears (0-1) mounted their biggest scoring threat, however, in the bottom of the fourth after Lipps reached first base on an Eastside throwing error. Lipps stole second and Hamilton surrendered a walk to Marlee Duncan. The runners moved up a base on a wild pitch that left them on second and third with no outs.

But Hamilton and Eastside’s defense got out of the jam when Brooke Light flew out to left field and Taylor Perry — another Eastside — freshman, threw out Lipps when she attempted to score from third on a tag.

Hamilton retired the next batter to keep the Lady Bears scoreless.

BIG BATS

It took a few innings, but Eastside (1-1) provided its young pitcher with plenty of run support against Brooks, Union’s pitcher.

After a scoreless first two innings, the Lady Spartans scored at least one run in four of the final five. Three of those runs came via the long ball.

With a 4-0 lead, Eastside’s Carrie Boyd smacked a two-run home run in the sixth inning and Leci Sensabaugh had a solo homer in the seventh to seal the win.

With only one senior and one junior on the squad, Atwood said her team has a lot of room to grow. Friday’s game was a sample of the kind of potential the team has as the season moves along.

“I see a lot of potential,” the coach said. “Some days we look really young. Today, I thought we looked like we had grown up a lot today and we made some good decisions at the plate and we fielded the ball well.”

Maggie Odle’s good decisions at the plate led to a 4-for-4 performance with an RBI for Eastside. Sensabaugh and Hamilton each went 2-for-4 to contribute to the Lady Spartans’ 12-hit attack. Sensabaugh had two RBIs and Hamilton drove in one run.

LEARNING CURVE

First-year Union coach McKenzie Cluesman said her players made some mistakes in the loss, but they also kept battling, which was a positive.

“We’ve got to make adjustments. We’ve got to make the plays and we’ve got to hit the ball,” Cluesman noted.

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