By Chris McCarthy/Editor
The Etowah High softball team ended its four-game losing streak in emphatic fashion on Wednesday (Mar. 2).
The Lady Blue Devils (1-4, 1-1) pounded Douglas for 12 hits – five for extra bases – while allowing just two hits and four baserunners in a 13-0 thumping of Class 5A, Area 13 rival Douglas in Attalla.
Noting that three of Etowah’s losses were by two runs or less, head coach Stephen Coggins was pleased that his squad won with some breathing room to spare.
“We’ve played four pretty good teams so far and played them close, so today was a big momentum swing for us,” he said. “This is the first game of the season that we hit the ball really well, and we executed offensively. Today was just a huge confidence-builder for us.”
Six Lady Blue Devils had multiple hits, led by first baseman Alyssa Howard with three hits, four RBI and a run scored and Emma Jones with two hits, three RBI and two runs scored.
Jessica Smith and Kris Farmer each went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a run scored, while Taylor Bush went 2-for-3 with three runs scored and Bree Vasser went 2-for-4 with a triple and two runs scored.
Savannah Waddell contributed a hit and two RBI, while Madison Grant and Melissa Love added a hit and a run scored.
Grant dominated the Lady Eagle batting order from top to bottom, allowing one hit and no walks while striking out six. Her lone hiccup came in the top of the second inning when Ruby Dendy led off the inning with a single and Charley Garrett got on base via an error.
That was the high water mark for Douglas, as Grant struck out the next two batters to end the threat and sent the Lady Eagles down in order in the third and fourth innings. She also retired the side in the top of the first.
“Whenever we’ve got Madison on the mound, you know that the other team is not going to get a lot of hits,” said Coggins. “That really gives us an advantage defensively, and Madison also gives us an advantage at the plate.”
In the meantime, the hosts feasted on the Douglas pitching. Jones’ two-run double highlighted a three-run bottom of the first, while Waddell, Vasser and Bush came home during the following inning to make it a 6-0 lead.
Etowah continued to pour it on in the third, with all but one player in the lineup either scoring a run or driving in a baserunner. Howard’s two-run double effectively put the game out of reach.
The visitors managed a hot and a walk with two outs in the top of the fifth, but reliever Katie Parrish induced a flyout to end the game on the 10-run mercy rule.
“I told out girls before the game that even though we started out 0-4, we can’t press the panic button,” said Coggins. “The only ones that matter are the area games, so getting that first one under our belt was huge. But [Douglas] is a whole lot better than they were last year, and you could tell the difference in the way they played today.”