CHADWICK – Kristy Pierce had to wait more than 3 weeks before she could get her young Eastland softball team some game action.
The weather pushed that game back to Wednesday and placed the Milledgeville Missiles, a veteran group coming of a third-place finish in Class 1A in 2012, before the Cougars.
The result was as expected. The Missiles won 10-0 in five innings, leaving Pierce shrugging her shoulders, knowing the Cougars can only go up from here.
"No offense to any other teams, but it's not going to get any tougher than what we saw today," Pierce said. "We needed to get out and play a game to see the things that we need to work on. They are the kind of team that tests you in every way. We did some good things, but you could tell it was our first game."
In the circle for the Missiles (3-0) was 2012 SVM player of they year Emily Bush. The Milledgeville senior had six strikeouts and two walks through the first two innings.
She allowed only one hit, a drag-bunt single by Haley Miller to start the third inning. Strong-armed catcher Courtney Swalve later threw out Miller when she tried to steal.
Bush (2-0) finished with 11 strikeouts and two walks.
"This is my fourth year pitching on the varsity, so I feel like I am more ready to go than I was in the past," Bush said. "The only difference is the cold. As long as there isn't any wind, it doesn't bother me that much."
The Missiles' bats went to work in the second inning. Swalve started the rally by reaching first after a dropped third strike. Swalve was replaced on the base paths by Jenna Bibler.
Morgan Adolph followed with a single. The Missiles tried a double steal while Kayleigh Leddy was batting, but Bibler was thrown out at third. Leddy walked, opening the door for Taylor Grenoble.
Grenoble punched a single through the right side to score Adolph. Grenoble was playing in her first game after breaking her hand during basketball.
After a strikeout and a walk, freshman Ally Bush had a chance to make a big impact with the bases loaded.
She laced a double off the center-field fence, scoring two runs.
"She's not playing like a freshman at this point," Milledgeville coach Brad Grenoble said. "She had a couple big hits last week against West Carroll. She really adds something to the lineup. At this point, we are getting contributions from everyone at the plate."
Over the next two innings, the Missiles kept putting the ball in play, and Eastland started making some mistakes. Milledgeville scored a total of six runs in the third and fourth innings, but only one was earned. Eastland committed three errors in that span and had four in the game.
The miscues soured a good first varsity start in the circle for Ashley Nepean.
Nepean (0-1) retired Milledgeville in order in the first inning and finished with four strikeouts and three walks.
"She's come such a long way from when we first got her here," Pierce said. "She used to have all kinds of things going on in her delivery, and she's really worked on that. She's pitching well, and we're going to need her."
Star of the game; Emily Bush, Milledgeville, 5 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 11 SO, 2 BB, also had three hits and an RBI
Key performers: Ally Bush, Milledgeville, 2 hits, 2B, 2 RBIs; Courtney Swalve, Milledgeville, 2 hits, RBI
Up next: Milledgeville at Aquin, 4 p.m. today; West Carroll at Eastland, 4:30 p.m. today