Thursday’s matchup against Walnut Grove (19-2, 10-0 Region 4-AAAA) had huge implications for Eastside (15-4-1, 7-3 Region 4-AAAA). A win would have put them in sole possession of third place in the region behind Walnut Grove and Eagle’s Landing. Walnut Grove, however, is one of the best teams in the state and it showed on Thursday in its 8-0 victory over Eastside.
The Warriors starting pitcher Kayla Poynter was too much for Eastside. The Lady Eagles weren’t able to get anything going on offense. Poynter scattered four hits throughout the game and had six strikeouts including three straight in the bottom of the third inning.
“Very disappointed in our effort overall,” Heather Wood, head coach, said.
The Warriors jumped on top of the Lady Eagles in the second inning with Madison Hopper pitching. It was like watching a quarterback pick a part a defense, the way the Warriors hit the ball.
Walnut Grove hit four doubles in the inning all were line drives or pop-ups placed perfectly in right field, which led to three runs. The bottom half of the inning, saw the Lady Eagles grab one hit, but ultimately get out of the inning with nothing more.
The third inning saw Caitlin Ray come in for Hopper, and resulted in a quick inning for the Lady Eagles after the only Warrior player to hit the ball was caught stealing second for the final out of the top half of the inning.
The Warriors scored again in the fourth to take a 4-0 lead. It was the fifth inning that changed the landscape for the Lady Eagles.
A plethora of errors led to three runs by Walnut Grove. One passed ball at home allowed two runners to score and from then on the Lady Eagles just looked defeated.
“The errors are ridiculous,” Wood said. “We’re playing one of the best teams in the state, and we’ve gotta step it up as a team.”
“I hope they use the score and how we played as motivation for next week to be better,” Wood added. “They’ve gotta have a gut check right now and understand that this is the point in our season where we can’t play that kind of ball.”
The Lady Eagles are currently in fifth place in the region, and they will play Jonesboro on Tuesday. From there, they will find out who they play in the region playoffs, which begin Monday, September 29.