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Eastsides late-game rally no good against Heritage
Senior infielder Alyssa Betts attempts to beat a Heritage player to third base to force an out in Wednesday's game. - photo by Mariya Lewter

The Eastside softball team’s late game comeback fell short against the Heritage Patriots Wednesday night as the Eagles lost 7-6 at home.

Both teams entered the game on four-game winning streaks, with Eastside coming off a 12-0 win over 4-AAAA region opponent Duluth High School.

Senior Ashleigh Williams scored the first run of the game for the Eagles in the first inning, but the Patriots quickly answered with two in the second to go up 2-1. After Eastside failed to hit in the bottom of the second inning, Heritage came out gunning in the third, scoring three hits off four hits to go up 5-1 against the Eagles’ defense.

Eastside fell behind two more runs in the fifth inning before senior Taylor Baggett scored off a hit by senior Ally Allgood in the bottom of the inning. The Eagles scored two more in the sixth to bring the score to 7-4, with Baggett having a chance to score until a close call by the umpire sent her back to the dugout. When Heritage failed to respond in the top of the seventh, Eastside had one more chance to make a final rally.

After McKenzie Walker was quickly called out in the top of the seventh, Allgood hit immediately after, followed by another by Williams. Both runners scored following hits by freshmen Kailey Rusk and Alysee Dobbs, but two back-to-back outs on seniors Lauren Beshears and Alyssa Betts ended the game, causing the Eagles to fall by just one point.

“A couple of innings killed us,” said Eastside head coach Heather Wood. “We were very lethargic in some innings, especially on defense. They had speed, they were putting the ball in play, so I’m proud of the girls for playing the full seven innings and making the comeback, but at the same time, those two innings early in the game killed us. We have to make sure we come out ready to go against any team that we play.”

The Eagles’ season record now sits at 7-4 on the year, but since Heritage is out of their region, Eastside remains undefeated in Region 4-AAAA.

“The good thing about non-region games is that what we need to do is just learn and grow from it,” Wood said. “It doesn’t count. It’s still early in our season. It’s still August, so all we want to do is to continue to grow and reflect. If we’re always winning, then we never really analyze ourselves and things we can improve on. My advice is to just learn from this. We did a lot of good things, a lot of things we still need work on. I told them to keep their heads and just be ready for these non-region games against these competitive teams.”

The Eagles will resume region play Thursday against Luella High School on the road at 5:30 p.m.

“Tomorrow’s a big game for us as far as in our region, and I think that we’re covered,” Wood said. “They’ll bounce back, and we’ll be ready to go tomorrow against Luella.”