Eastside's season comes to an end
The Eastside softball team entered the Region 8-AAAA tournament just outside the top four looking for a state playoff appearance.
However, Lanier and pitcher Kaylee Ramos kicked the Eagles out of the region tournament Wednesday, eliminated them from the state playoffs and ended their season.
In the rubber game of a best-of-three series, Eastside (16-15, 6-5) was shutout 1-0 Wednesday, a day after splitting with Lanier. The fourth-seeded Longhorns opened the region tournament with a 5-0 win, before Eastside won 2-1 Tuesday.
In Lanier’s first win Ramos came away with 11 strikeouts as Eastside couldn’t find an answer for the Longhorns’ star pitcher.
The Eagles mustered five runs in the second game, but Ramos struck again Wednesday tallying seven strikeouts in
Eastside’s season finale.
“She was a good pitcher,” Eastside coach Jason Stokes said. “She threw hard and hit her spots.”
Eastside managed just one earned run off her in the three-game series.
With the Eagles’ bats silenced, Lanier didn’t need much to move on in the region tournament.
The Longhorns reached on a single in the first inning as the base runner barely beat out a throw to first from Eastside shortstop Jordan Hilty.
The Lanier runner then moved to second on a bunt single and to third on a sacrifice fly.
The winning run would the score from third on a ground ball to Eastside pitcher Reese Rogers, who couldn’t make the throw home on time.
Eastside couldn’t find an answer for the early run, and Luella moved on to play Madison County for third seed.
“I’m extremely disappointed with the outcome of the season,” Stokes said. “Before the season started, looking at what we had coming back I didn’t expect us to do quite as good as we actually did. You always hope for more.”
The Eagles had
just three seniors entering this season before Hilty transferred in after her parents moved from the Alcovy school zone.
The senior foursome, though only a fraction of the team, helped Eastside within a game of the state playoffs.
“We thought that this year was going to be tough, having a lot of young girls coming up and not really having that much experience having (only) three seniors,” Stokes said. “(Hilty) probably helped us win way more games than we expected. Still, I thought we would make it into state playoffs. I really thought we would.”
Stokes said that Hilty was the best defensive shortstop he’s ever coached, helping to provide stability in the middle of Eastside’s defense.
Victoria Riecht, another senior, was used throughout the entire field for Eastside as a utility player.
“I could put her anywhere on the field and feel comfortable that she’s going to do well,” Stokes said.
Savannah Upshaw will also be graduating from Eastside, leaving a hole for the Eagles at first base.
“Savannah Upshaw has been the leader of the team,” Stokes said. “Everyone seems to look up to her.
"Whenever she tries to get people to do something, they jump right in and do it. She’s that one that will run the extra poles with the girls that aren’t completed yet or do the extra workouts to help others still working out.”
Lexi Henson is the fourth Eastside senior, who has been one of Stokes’ hardest workers since her freshman year.
“She was at every single voluntary work out. I’m going to miss her work ethic,” Stokes said.
The Eagles now look to the 2013 when the four freshmen that started for Eastside in 2012 will have another year of experience and maturity under their belts. Rogers will be the only senior returning for the 2013 season.