In case you missed it, Eastside topped Alcovy 5-4 in an early evening matchup that showcased talent on both teams, but also shed a light on areas of improvement. We break down the strengths and weaknesses for both teams as of right now.
For Eastside being 5-0 with a pair of run-ruled blowout wins and a convincing win over Alcovy, it might seem to the naked eye that there is no room for improvement. However, head coach Heather Wood would disagree.
There were multiple instances where the Lady Eagles attempted to lay down a bunt, but came up unsuccessful. In the bottom of the fourth with a runner on, two straight bunts turned into pop outs behind the plate.
“I think they had great effort they stayed up throughout the game and I appreciate that as a coach,” Wood said. “I was very disappointed in our execution on the bunts and also our mental approach at the plate, but overall I am proud of them for not laying down and shutting down early. We were able to stay up throughout the game.
Making contact wasn’t the issue for the Eagles. It was being able to get the bunt down the baseline that caused them trouble. Going forward, Eastside plans to practice on the physical and mental aspect of bunting.
“We’ll just continue to practice that and just reinforce that at practice. Also work on our mental approach at the plate,” Wood said.
As far as their hitting goes, the Lady Eagles can definitely put the bat on the ball. They faced a tough pitcher in Alcovy’s Kalia Johnson, which resulted in some spotty hitting.
“I think it was all mental. I think we need to be better prepared when we face good pitching and Kalia is a great pitcher. So I think that we have to come up with a gameplan anytime we face pitching like that,” Wood said.
The narrative for the Tigers’ keys to success going forward is a bit different.
The Tigers were able to put runners in scoring position multiple times throughout the game. They just couldn’t put the nail in the coffin.
When asked how the team planned on capitalizing on those missed opportunities going forward, head coach Brandy Keeter said, “Just working to move the runners around and playing ABC baseball. Getting our bunts and stuff down.”
Mental toughness and resolve won’t be a problem for the Tigers. Despite being down 5-1 at one point, the team never gave up even after hearing Eagles fans cheering loudly for their team. When Johnson blasted a three-run homer, it seemed the momentum was in the Tigers’ favor.
“I’m glad that they didn’t give up. We kept fighting and one hit and we’re back in it,” Keeter said.
That pretty much summed up the game for Alcovy: one hit and they’re back in it. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Tigers who were down 2-1 at the time, coach Wood called time.
“I went out there, I talked to the girls and just told them to keep their heads up and to get tough,” Wood said. That’s what they did.
Alcovy popped out to end the inning. If the Tigers were able to muster up just one more run in that inning, it might have been a different ball game.