COVINGTON -- The Eagles baseball team did everything it wasn't suppose to do in the first round of the Class AAA playoffs against Harlem. Errors on defense and the inability to find the holes on offense allowed the Bulldogs to take advantage of the situation and sweep Eastside 12-2 and 3-1 to end its season on Friday.
"We did exactly what I said I didn't want us to do. We go out and walk seven or eight guys and have four, five or six errors. Of course, they (Harlem) did what they're suppose to do in those spots," said Eastside head coach Brad Weir. "You can't give teams like that extra outs."
Once the Eagles calmed down they tried to come back to tie the series. The problem was that whenever they drove the ball well, they drove it right to a Harlem defender.
In the first game down 6-1 in the fifth inning, Matt Hitchcock, Keith Buckhault and Jake Wright were able to string some hits together to load the bases allowing Jason Briem to get an RBI on a fielder's choice. Unfortunately, the next time the Eagles loaded the bags, in the second game, they were unable to do anything about the situation as a hard hit to the shortstop resulted in an out.
"We sat in the dugout and laughed. Every time we hit one hard it was caught and every time they would bleed one in the infield it found a way to get through," said Weir. "We've always said that you have to have three things in order to win the state championship. One, you have to be good, which they are and so are we. You have to be lucky, and they were luckier than we were. And you have to have a season without injuries. We lost a key player to injury about three weeks ago -- Joey Mitchell. We had been moving some guys around in the infield and that hurt a little bit. We weren't all three of things."
Even though the Eagles lost the second game as well, Weir was proud of the way the team fought back making it the kind of game he expected. Giving Eastside a chance to tie the series defensively was senior Tyler Bailey, who at the mound gave up eight hits while striking out two batters.
"We did a heck of a job coming back in the second game; showing something about us and fighting to the end. That's the kind of game I was expecting for all three of them. I was expecting a 3-1 game or a 4-3 game. I wasn't expecting to get beat 12-2 because of mistakes," said Weir. "He's going to Brewton-Parker on a wrestling scholarship but he's also going to try to play some baseball.
"We just told them that they're 22-6 and finish the regular season ranked seventh in the state and no one can ever take that away. Everyone says that I tell all my senior classes that they're the best I've had. I've never told one that but that's the best bunch I've had in 16 years. But they battled with us and took in everything we were doing. They set some examples for the younger kids and they set the bar pretty high. We have to get back to work over the summer, get some arm strength in some areas. We'll have some young kids and we'll see what we can do next year with them."