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East Hall softball rolls to historic first-round win in Class-AAA playoffs
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East Hall's Steffanie Redmon (22) watches a ball Thursday during the East Hall vs. Pace Academy softball game in the first round of playoffs at East Hall Park. - photo by Erin O. Smith

East Hall’s Steffanie Redmon homered twice for the Lady Vikings on Thursday, including a third-inning three-run shot in game two of a first-round doubleheader with Pace Academy, and the hosts rolled to the second round of the Class AAA softball playoffs in what was another historic evening for the team at East Hall Park. The Vikings completed the sweep with a 19-0 shutout in four innings in the nightcap after winning the opener 15-0.

East Hall will await the winner of Cook County and Islands and play the second-round game on Oct. 19 in Gainesville.

East Hall coach Josh Joiner’s players picked things up after their convincing victory over North Hall last week. One week after capturing their first Region 7-AAA title, the Vikings racked up a combined 34 runs in a two-game sweep of the best-of-three series to advance to the second round for the first time in program history.

“I’m definitely proud of them, cause a lot of times we’ll play kind of a quiet game like this, and the second game we’ll be kind-of a little dry,” Joiner said. “But I’m proud of the way we kept pushing, kept pushing and kept pushing. We’ve been preaching that all year. It’s good to see something — when you’ve been preaching it over and over again — actually work out for you.”

The Vikings put the game away in the top of the fourth of the opener, in which they tallied three hits and capitalized on four Knight fielding errors to score seven runs.

Redmon (3 for 4, six RBI), who previously stretched the Vikings’ lead to eight runs with an RBI single in the bottom of the second, was irritated by a remark made by a fan in regards to her hitting ability during the top of the fourth.

After a called ball two, Redmon took a step back to survey her baserunners at first and second, and kicked a little dirt back with her cleat before settling back into her stance. She unloaded those frustrations with a three-run shot on the very next pitch, belting one high and deep over the center-field fence to extend the Vikings’ lead to 12-0.

“He said, ‘She’s a pull hitter, she won’t hit it to the right side,’ and it just got to me, because I’ve worked so hard to do what I can do,” Redmon said. “It just got to me, but then I hit one over.

And I guess it just happens.”

Redmon plated Jessie Edge and Abigail Brown on a chop single past second base. She closed out the evening 5 for 7 with nine RBI’s and three runs scored. Joiner was pleased to see his third baseman turn the other way and let the bat do most of the talking.

“She’s had a heck of a year this year, especially with the long ball, good grief,” Joiner said of Redmon. “She’s crushed the ball. Keep swinging, keep swinging is all I have to say.”

The remaining order drove in nine runs off of seven additional hits. Kaitlyn Daniel (1 for 4, 2 runs scored) put the Vikings ahead in the top of the first with a two-run single hit to center, scoring Jennifer Lopez and Edge. Lopez (2 for 3, 2 RBI’s, 3 runs scored) was the only other Viking to get multiple hits in game 2, adding a two-run single in the top of the second.

Starting pitcher Macy Banks pitched both games and allowed no hits while striking out six and walking none for the evening.

Moving forward Joiner can only take a step back and let his girls do what he’s been teaching them all year — continue to be a pitching and hitting team.

“Hopefully that can be a winning formula for us and get us through the next round, and get to Columbus and see what happens from there.”

Redmon commended the play of her team, the freshmen especially, and feels they can do something great this season.

“They’ve been playing so well,” She said. I wish that they can see what they’ve done from the beginning of the year to now. It’s just amazing. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year holds.”

GAME 1: Redmon smacked a two-run home run near the left-field foul pole — the first of the season hit at East Hall Park — during a nine-run surge in the bottom of the third inning, and the Lady Vikings rolled to a shutout in Game 1.

The Lady Vikings hammered 10 hits, Lopez (2 for 3, 2 RBI’s, run scored) Banks (2 for 3, two runs scored) and Redmon (2 for 3, 3 RBI’s, run scored) with multi-hit showings.

The Vikings took the lead in the bottom of the first with a two-out RBI single by Redmon. The Vikings’ five-run bottom of the second was aided by a two-RBI double by Lopez, a Abigail Brown sacrifice fly and back-to-back fielding errors.

Banks pitched a three-inning, no-hit shutout with four strikeouts.

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