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Lady Bears take rematch with Lady Spartans

Kevin Mays • Mar 29, 2019 at 11:57 PM

COEBURN — Two big offensive innings and solid pitching Friday helped the Union softball team avenge its season-opening loss.

The Lady Bears scored four runs in the fifth inning and three in the sixth on the way to an 8-2 nondistrict win over Eastside at Alumni Stadium.

Eastside beat Union 7-0 on March 22.

LATE-GAME PRODUCTION

The rematch was much closer in the early going. Eastside (1-4) held a 1-0 lead through the first four innings.

Taylor Perry singled to right field to start the bottom of the first and later moved to third on a Union throwing error. Cloey Bailey then delivered a one-out sacrifice fly to center that scored Perry.

The one-run lead held up until the top of the fifth when Union (2-1) scored four runs on two hits, a walk and two Eastside errors to take a 4-1 lead.

Eastside pulled to within 4-2 in the bottom of the fifth, but a three-run Union sixth — sparked by Brooke Light’s two-RBI double — put the Lady Bears up 7-2. Union added another run in the seventh in its biggest offensive game of the young season.

“We came out here and we hit the ball. We made the plays and we got the runs,” said Lady Bears coach Mackenzie Cluesman.

Eastside coach Suzi Atwood said the youthfulness of her team, which has only one senior and one junior, played a role in Union’s snowball-effect runs in the fifth and sixth.

“We’re still so young that one inning that we sort of fall apart drags on for a while,” noted Atwood, who added that a tough schedule will make Eastside stronger as it heads into Cumberland District play.

The Class 1 Lady Spartans’ nondistrict schedule includes solid Class 2 Mountain 7 District squads Union, Ridgeview and Gate City.

“Union is tough. We knew that,” Atwood said. “Our inexperience at times sort of helped them out.

“(Union’s Marleigh Duncan) is a good pitcher and that’s why we lined up to face her,” Atwood added. “We want to play tough competition. We wanted to play the Mountain 7. You get better by playing better competition.”

THE NUMBERS

Duncan (2-0) tossed a complete-game five-hitter. She gave up two runs with only one walk and six strikeouts.

Light finished 2-for-4 with three RBIs. Union also got a 2-for-4 day with an RBI from Emma Duncan.

Eastside’s Liz Brace (0-2) took the loss after giving up four runs on four hits with five strikeouts and four walks.

UP NEXT

Both teams begin district play Tuesday. Union hosts Mountain 7 rival Gate City and Eastside opens Cumberland play at Rye Cove.

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