Eight straight: East Coweta continues streak of Elite 8 softball berths
By DOUG GORMAN
The East Coweta Lady Indians softball team is headed to the Elite 8 in Columbus.
It’s now become an annual tradition for the Lady Indians.
The Lady Indians rolled to a 8-2 victory in the first game and then knocked off the Lady Packers 9-1 in the second game in just five innings.
“It’s hard to do,” said East Coweta head coach Franklin DeLoach, who hopes the eighth trip to Columbus next week brings the program its first state title. “You are talking about the top eight teams every year. It’s tough to get there, and it is even tougher to win it."
(To view photos from this doubleheader, please visit our Photo Gallery at http://photos.times-herald.com/mycapture and click on Sports / Softball.)
The Lady Indians used a combination of pitching, solid defense and timely hitting to put together the second-round sweep.
Senior pitcher Megan Chocallo picked up the win in both games, at times pitching around Lady Packer rallies.
Chocallo retired the side in order in the final three innings to pick up the win in the first game, and her hot streak continued through the first four innings of the nightcap as she retired the first 12 batters she faced.
“We just feel like when Megan has the ball, we are in good hands,” DeLoach said. “She isn’t going to strike out a ton of batters, but she is going to get outs.”
East Coweta opened the doubleheader with three runs in the bottom of the first and never trailed in the contest.
Sarah Colwell had the hot bat in Game One with three RBIs. Sophomore Katie Lynch drove in a pair of runs as part of the team’s eight-run explosion.
Reba Jones went 3-for-4 in the first game, including a triple and an RBI. Leadoff hitter Kia Smith had two hits including a double.
Shemiah Sanchez had a double and a triple in the first game, but continued her explosive offense in the nightcap with a home run in the third inning.
Sanchez’s blast over the fence helped add to the Lady Indians’ side of the scoreboard.
East Coweta already led 3-0, scoring single run in the first and two more in the second.
“This is a lot of fun,” Sanchez said. “We are excited about getting to go back to Columbus. We have a really big tradition here, and we just want to keep it up.”
In the nightcap. East Coweta added to its side of the scoreboard by pounding out extra base hits. Mekhia Freeman had a first inning double, and Katie Lynch and Katelyn Bedrosian each scored after doubles in the second inning.
Bedrosian went 3-for-3 in the final game to help secure the Lady Indians’ reservations back to Columbus. She also threw out a base runner field after fielding the ball on a hop and throwing to first base to help thwart a potential Lady Packer rally.
Bedrosian knows what it would mean to the school if the Lady Indians manage to make a strong run next week in Columbus.
“It would mean so much to be able to win it my senior year,” she said. “I was really worried we might not even get to go. This being my senior year, I am really ready for it.”
Chocallo took a no-hitter into the fourth inning of the night cap before the Lady Packers broke it up with three hits and their only run of the game.
It could have been worse. Colquitt County loaded the bases but Chocallo and the defense behind her only allowed one run.
“That was big getting out of that inning with just the one run,” DeLoach said.
Chocallo finished the two games with nine strikeouts.
East Coweta opens play at the Elite 8 next Thursday.