EAST LAKE — All week, East Lake has made sure to mark its calendar for tonight’s district showdown with Palm Harbor University. After all, the Eagles still remember the last meeting, an extra-inning loss in which they twice gave up four-run leads.
But before East Lake could zero in on the Hurricanes, there was another game. On Wednesday, the Eagles faced Osceola — a team that nearly beat them in the opening round of last week’s Lady Canes Spring Tournament.
This time, there would be no close calls.
East Lake’s offense came through in a 13-3 win that was called after six innings because of the mercy rule.
“The big thing is we stayed patient, worked the count and had better at-bats than the first time we played Osceola,” Eagles coach Mike Estes said.
For the second time in six days, East Lake (14-3) faced Warriors pitcher Kaitlyn Romaine. The familiarity showed as the Eagles adjusted to her off-speed pitches to pile on the runs.
“Having such a close proximity in time from the last time we faced (Romaine) helped us,” Estes said. “She can keep you off balance, but we didn’t swing at the first pitch. It was a while, but we got our offense going.”
Trailing 1-0 in the first, East Lake countered by scoring twice in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run double by Ashley Bonalewicz. The big inning came in the fourth when the Eagles sent 13 batters up and scored eight runs.
The Warriors scored two runs in the fifth inning. East Lake scored three runs in the sixth.
Bonalewicz went 3-for-3 with four RBIs and Marisa Palumbo was 3-for-4 to lead the Eagles.
Rebecca Bunday, Kara Oberer and Rachel Weaver each had two hits for Osceola.
“We have a lot of big games coming up in the next week,” Estes said. “This is a big one with Palm Harbor, but I don’t want to treat differently than any other. I know the intensity will be there.”