Eastside drops a game behind Oconee County after 2-0 loss
The Eastside Lady Eagles dropped a 2-0 decision Thursday to the Oconee Lady Warriors in a Region-8-AAA softball contest with a lot riding on the outcome.
Coming into the game, Eastside (165-1 overall, 5-2 Region 8-AAA) and Oconee County (16-1-2 overall, 6-1) were in a virtual tie for the top spot in the region. The Lady Warriors are also the top team in the state according to the coaches’ poll while the Lady Eagles sit in the fourth spot. There was no question that the No.1 and No.4 teams were on the field at the Eagle’s nest as Eastside lost their second game to Oconee in a week.
Amanda Henderson started on the mound for the Lady Eagles, while Geri Ann Glasco went to the hill for the Lady Warriors.
schools’ top hurlers in perfect form, a pitcher’s duel ensued between Henderson and Glasco with neither giving up a run early on.
Glasco pitched a three-hitter while walking only two batters.
Not to be outdone, Henderson hurled a four-hitter while striking out 10 Lady Warriors and walking five batters in a losing effort.
In the top of the first inning, the Lady Warriors had runners in scoring position when Amanda Hawkins rushed a throw from second to first after making a miscue on a routine grounder to allow two runs to score.
"I felt like we were very nervous and tense that first inning. That's something we have to improve on. We can’t let other teams intimidate us,” Eastside coach Heather Wood said.
Eastside’s bats couldn’t seem to get on track to generate any opportunities to score runs.
Bri Chambers got two of the three hits for the Lady Eagles when she singled to left in the first inning then stole second but was stranded when the next batter struck out before the last two batters grounded out and flied out to the shortstop.
Chambers got her second hit, a single to left in the third, but was left stranded again when the next batters grounded out to the pitcher and second base.
Henderson, still effective on the mound, sent the Lady Warriors’ back to the dugout in order in the top of the fourth as she struck out the side.
The Lady Eagles came up in the bottom half of the inning to go three up and three down hitting grounders to short, second and the pitcher’s mound.
The Lady Warriors had chances to put more runs on the board in the sixth inning but Kayla Jones stretched to snag a line drive to end the Oconee threat.
"I was happy with Kayla, I thought she did a great job on defense," Wood said. "She definitely came through for us."
Kenya Shakoor got the other Eastside hit in the bottom of the fifth but got caught trying to steal second.
Oconee went down in order in the top of the sixth when Kayla Jones snatched a line drive out of the air. Henderson struck out the next batter before getting the last batter to ground out to short with Oconee holding on to a 2-0 lead going into the last half of the sixth.
The Lady Eagles went down in order in the bottom half of the sixth with the leadoff batter striking out and the next two grounded out to go into the final inning down by two runs.
Oconee came to bat in the top of the final inning getting the first batter on with a single straight up the middle. The next batter hit a fly ball to right field and Jessica Davenport made a running catch then caught the runner too far off first to turn the double play.
The next batter hit a fly ball to center for the final out of the top half of the seventh.
The Lady Eagles didn’t make a threat in the bottom half of the seventh with the leadoff batter going down on strikes before the last two grounded out to end the game with the Lady Warriors recording the 2-0 victory.
"It's not really going to matter, but in the region tournament we'll probably be the second place seed instead of first,” Wood said. “We're still OK, we just have to come out ready for the region tournament."