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Season ends for Lady Eagles with 1-0 in region tournament

SUGAR HILL -- Eastside's softball team gave it all it had and left it all on the field in the deciding game against Lanier on Wednesday. Unfortunately it wasn't enough as the Lady Eagles were eliminated from the Region 8-AAAA playoffs with a 1-0 loss after splitting the doubleheader on Tuesday.

Just like the first game against pitcher Kaylee Ramos, the Lady Eagles were unable to hit the ball consistently. Also like the first game, the only hit against Ramos was by Kerstin Hilley to start the seventh inning.

"We put the ball in play more this game and we made them make some plays, and they did," Eastside head coach Jason Stokes said. "We put the ball in play, just not in holes."

In the first game, Eastside struck out 12 times. The second only sent seven batters walking back from home place.

Eastside had a couple of chances to at least tie the game as it put runners on base three times. Their first opportunity came in the third inning after Taz Powell got walked with two outs. The second came in the fourth inning when a Holland Coursey error put Hilley on base with no outs.

"We did about how I expected, except I thought we would make it to the (Class AAAA) playoffs," Stokes said. "I told the girls this has been my favorite group of girls to coach. They jelled better than any team I've been a part of."

The Lady Longhorns scored their only run in the first inning when Hannah Coursey beat the throw to the plate by pitcher Reese Rogers, scoringon a fielder's choice by Noelle Petty.

"Reese made a great pitch, but instead of overhanding it she underhanded it," Stokes said. But she pitched a heck of a ballgame."

Rogers ended the game striking out three batters while hitting one batter and giving up five hits.

Lanier had a chance to pile on the runs when it loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the third inning. After striking out Petty, a heads-up solo double play by third baseman Caitlin Ray ended the threat. Ray caught an Amberly Hays line drive before tagging Hannah Coursey as she dove back to the bag. Unfortunately, the Lady Eagles were unable to take advantage of the momentum swing ending any chance they had to shut down the Lady Longhorns.

"That double play by Ray was huge," Stokes said. "I really thought we were going to come in and get something going."

In the doubleheader on Tuesday, Ramos shut down the Lady Eagles, handing Eastside a 5-0 loss. But the Lady Eagles responded against Petty, getting eight hits to get the 2-1 win.

The Lady Eagles took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning of the second game on Lexi Henson's double. A bad throw by the Lady Longhorns in the third inning allowed Jordan Hilty to make it 2-0.

Lanier fought back to score in the fifth inning. But Reese was able to shut down the Lady Longhorns, getting a strikeout to end the inning and two more strikeouts in the sixth and seventh inning.

The Lady Eagles had a chance to take a big lead in the first game as they had bases loaded with one out. But the Lady Longhorns defense was able to get the final two outs maintaining the one-run lead. Then Lanier took advantage of its bases-loaded situation, scoring twice. Lanier could have added two more runs if not for the quick play by pitcher Rogers throwing the ball to catcher Bailey Stewart for the forceout.