GEORGETOWN — A three-run third inning doomed Salado on Monday evening as the 21st-ranked Lady Eagles fell 8-3 to Class 5A Georgetown East View in a playoff tuneup before bi-district action later this week.

“This game was to knock the rust off,” said Salado head coach Kory Craddick. “Today we were very rusty there early, but as the game went along, I felt we progressed in the right direction.

“There was a lot of positives out of tonight.”

Things started well for the Lady Eagles in the first inning. Salado scored two runs off Patriot starter Ashley O’Daniel. Jenna Calder’s fielder’s choice and a Rebecca Dockray single to center gave the road team an early cushion.

However, East View answered those two runs with a pair of runs in the bottom half of the inning to tie the contest at 2-all.

Salado (24-7) plated another run in the top of the second inning after Regina Deen was hit by a pitch. Deen moved to third after back-to-back sacrifice bunts by Lindy Martin and Abbie James. With two outs, leadoff hitter Piper Randolph hit a hard smash to second base, but the speedy second baseman beat the throw to first to give the Lady Eagles a 3-2 lead.

The Patriots (15-10) plated three runs in the second against Salado starter Bailey Tindell to take a 5-3 lead they would not give up the rest of the game.

Salado could not solve East View’s talented pitcher Taryn Westbrook, who took over with two outs in the second and pitched 3 1/3 innings, allowing no runs and only a Martin single and two hit batters.

On the other side, Dockray took over on the mound and gave Craddick three innings of solid softball for his team.

“Rebecca is such a competitor. She’s still young being only a sophomore, but she’s really going to battle and give us everything she has got,” Craddick said.

“She really pitches around the plate and gives us a good chance. Whoever we have on the mound, we are going to do our best to help them out.”

Dockray and teammate Breigh Oliver each got on base three times for the Lady Eagles.

Craddick admitted the Lady Eagles have been through a tough week emotionally following the death of fellow student-athlete Tori DeKay in a car accident last week, but knows his team will be ready for the playoffs.

“We have had our highs and lows this year. We have handled adversity fairly well being such a young team,” Craddick said. “We had a big win on Wednesday night against Taylor that I think helped us grow as a team.”

Salado finished second in the 19-4A district standings and will open the playoffs Thursday against Caldwell. The series is tentatively scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Thursday at Cameron Yoe High School.

Games 2 and 3, if necessary, will start Saturday at 5 p.m. at Cameron.

Craddick knows playing tough competition like East View and district foes Liberty Hill, Lampasas and Taylor will only prepare his team for the upcoming playoffs.

“We have been through a lot this year, but the teams we have played have prepared us to grow as a unit,” Craddick said.

“There’s no doubt in my mind that my team will come out and be ready to go Thursday.”

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