East­side's sea­son comes to an end

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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.

Bryan Fazio /The Cov­ing­ton News

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