At the top of Eastside softball's lineup this season was its best player, Caitlin Ray. In the media center where Ray signed her letter of intent on Thursday afternoon, she was surrounded by her teammates, friends and a lot of family. In her four years at Eastside, Ray has been one of the best softball talents in the county and she capped off a great season by signing her letter of intent to play softball at Georgia State.
Coming off a slightly disappointing season that saw Eastside boys' basketball just miss out on the playoffs finishing with a record of 15-11 (9-7 Region 4-AAAA) the Eagles will begin the season under a new head coach in Brent Wren, who is taking over for Gregory Freeman after Freeman took over the head coaching job at Lovejoy.
Despite cold weather at Walnut Grove, Eastside's offense came out hot and rode the arm of junior quarterback Austin Holloway all the way to victory. Holloway tossed three touchdowns in the first half, two went to Josh Sims and another went to Eric Stokes, as Holloway finished with five scores total as the Eagles flew past the Warriors, 36-19.
Eastside football (6-2, 4-2 Region 4-AAAA) went to Hampton (0-8, 0-6 Region 4-AAAA) and took care of business, as they returned home with a 27-7 W, as they prepare to face Walnut Grove in the regular season finale on Friday.
Eastside softball met North Oconee in the second round of the state playoffs in a best-of-three series, but couldn't finish the sweep as the series is tied at 1-1 heading into Thursday's rubber match at home at 6p.m.
It's hard enough to travel and win on the road in the playoffs, but that task became much more difficult for Eastside traveling to play Cook County when Lady Eagle's pitcher Molly Moon dislocated her knee in Eastside's first game against Hampton – a series that eventually allowed the Lady Eagles to clinch the No. 3 seed – but although Moon won't require surgery, she is out for the season.
Eastside (5-2, 3-2 Region 4-AAAA) lost last week's game to Locust Grove because of turnovers and penalties, but the Eagles flipped the script this week and forced turnovers of their own and benefitted from a number of Henry County (4-3, 4-2 region 4-AAAA) penalties to beat the Warhawks 32-16.
The Lady Eagles traveled up the road to face Walnut Grove in a doubleheader with the winner of a best-of-three series advancing to the Region 4-AAAA Championship. The Lady Warriors, last year's region champions, topped Eastside in the first two games of the series, 5-1 and 4-2 respectively to advance to the Region Championship.
A roaring crowd of fans, especially the "Dale-ians," helped lift the Lady Eagles to an 11-1 home win against Eagle's Landing Monday, advancing Eastside to the second round of the Region 4-AAAA tournament against Walnut Grove.
The Region 4-AAAA softball tournament begins on Monday when Eastside (15-9, 10-2 Region 4-AAAA) will host Eagles Landing (13-9, 5-5 Region 4-AAAA) at 7:30 p.m. in a single-elimination game for a chance to play in the the second round in a best two-out-of-three contest to play for the Region Championship.
UPDATED w/quotes: The Eagles' staple so far this season has been the play in the trenches by both the offensive and defensive lines which allowed Eagles playmakers to score points and respectively stopped opposing offenses. Unfortunately for Eastside that wasn't the case Thursday night against region foe Jonesboro as the Eagles struggled to execute and fell 43-14 to Jonesboro.