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Eastside softball coach Heather Wood sees potential amid growing pains
EHS Softball
Eastside head coach Heather Wood (left) discusses base-running strategy with Kaela Lay (6) - photo by Phillip B. Hubbard

COVINGTON, Ga. — Growing pains, which were expected before the season began, were on display Wednesday night in Eastside’s 6-2 loss at home versus Jefferson. 

Errors on defense and limited offensive production at the plate kept the Lady Eagles below .500 in the young 2022 season and prevented any celebrations for their first regular season game on its new home field. 

There will likely be time for that later. For now, head coach Heather Wood wants to figure out how to solve her young squad’s consistency issues. 

“Sometimes in this game, I felt like we were inconsistent. We’d be up one inning and then down and up. So, we got to be really consistent and understand our region is so tough. Anyone can beat anyone on any day.” 

As a team, Eastside went 5-for-26 (.192) at the plate with strikeouts and it drew one walk. Defensively, the Lady Eagles made five errors. 

Wood said failure to produce runs on offense seemed to contribute to the errors committed on defense. 

“Us going through a couple of at-bats and not hitting transferred some into the field,” Wood said. “I think that set in some frustration offensively that carried over to defense.”

The biggest defensive lapse occurred in the third inning when Eastside surrendered four of Jefferson’s six runs. 

Even so, it found an offensive burst that cut the lead in half in the bottom of the fifth inning. 

Gracie Griffis and Anslee Saunchegraw each hit a single, placing runners at the corner. Donee Morain followed by nailing a single to center field that scored both Griffis and Saunchegraw. 

Morain’s two-RBI hit made the score 4-2 heading into the top of the sixth. But Jefferson solidified its four-run win by scoring a run in each of the last two innings. 

The loss drops Eastside 1-2 overall with an 0-2 record in Region 8-AAAAA. According to Maxpreps, this is the first time in Wood’s tenure that the Lady Eagles began region play 0-2. 

Eastside is also featuring a young team looking to replace the eight players who graduated from last year’s team. 

Wood has full faith in her team’s ability to do just that and bounce back from Wednesday’s outing.

“It is a younger team, but I do think they have that potential,” Wood said. “They’re a very coachable team. I actually just told them [in the post game huddle] that I hate it fell in a region game, but I’d rather it happen now than in the middle or toward the end of the season. And hopefully we see a big change from this.” 

Next up for the Lady Eagles will be Thursday when Flowery Branch comes into town for another region matchup.