Eagle girls open with thrilling win

The Eagles played their first game against the Hornets at their home field on St. Patrick’s Day. Victory was taken at the end of the ninth inning with a final score of 10-9.

Pitcher Cehloe Hanson struck out the first two Henley batters, walked the third and scooped up a ground ball to throw out the fourth. Eagle Point’s hitters went three up and three down, being thrown, caught and struck out in that order.

But the second inning marked the beginning of an impressive scoring streak for the Eagles which remained unchallenged until near the middle of the fifth. After knocking out Henley’s first three batters, Eagle Point’s girls loaded the bases right away and put their first run on the board with a base hit from the fourth in the order. They then ran two more home almost immediately to make the score three to nothing before the start of the third.

Here, the Eagles fell into a rhythm that seemed unstoppable, with Hanson hitting a triple to bring home a runner in the third, and without allowing the Hornets to get outside of three batters in either the third or the fourth inning. EP’s ability to capitalize on Henley’s mistakes gave them a commanding lead of 7-0 at the start of the fifth. Some fans in attendance talked of going home because, as long as they were assured of a win for EPHS, they might avoid the encroaching rain.

Soon, however, the Henley girls found a rhythm of their own. No longer willing to be dealt with so lightly, the Hornets stung the Eagles with a run in the fifth and four runs in the sixth, to which Eagle Point only answered with two for themselves. About this time, a steady rain began to fall, which must have given Shauntel Rodgers trouble with her pitching. The seventh inning started at 9-5, Eagles, but after walking the first batter, Rodgers was taken off the mound and replaced by Hanson.

From a source who prefers to stay anonymous, I learned that Hanson was playing through a fever that night. Her performance was commendable, given her illness, but she was not able to halt Henley’s advance. The score was tied, 9-9, at the top of the eighth.

Rodgers seemed to have the toughest time of all the Eagles. Even though her successes included catching out no less than three of Henley’s batters, on some trips back to the dugout she appeared very disappointed with herself. Later, Coach Jolliffe dismissed this as “first game jitters,” saying “it’s not easy being a relief pitcher.”

The hero of the evening was #6, Jennie Fernandes, who smacked a long ball down the first-base line to capture the game-winning run in the ninth. I was told this is the same Fernandes that spent time in a wheelchair after colliding with a tree on her snowboard last year.

When I asked Coach Jolliffe what he will work on in the upcoming week’s practices, the first words off his lips were “fielding” and “calling the ball.” But he also mentioned that much of their training so far has been kept indoors because of poor weather and a muddy field. He said he wants get more work done outside. Overall he expressed that he was proud of his athletes for battling out the win. Good job Eagles!
By Michael Stephens
Of the Independent

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