Eastside softball suffered a 7-0 loss to Locust Grove on Monday ending its run in the region tournament and the Lady Eagles’ season.
Eastside head coach Heather Wood, who was in her first year back coaching Eastside after a six-year hiatus, will lose three seniors after this season, Madison Hopper, Madison Whitsitt and Tameria Woods.
“Madison Hopper, our pitcher, she had a great season for us. I felt like she was the backbone of the team this year. I know these girls wanted it and wanted to continue to compete, so I do hate that it was disappointing for them to not go further,” Wood added. “But they (the seniors) will be greatly missed and we appreciate how much work they have put in to all four years here at Eastside.”
“I am disappointed for the girls. The season didn’t end as we expected. We had high hopes of making it further but we were outplayed by Locust Grove on Monday. But overall I think we have a strong foundation to build on for next season and I have a great group of players returning next year also. I think they made great strides during the year, but looking at the big picture I hope these girls use their season and the game as motivation for next year,” Wood said.
Wood has a strong core of players returning, including pitcher/third base Caitlin Ray and shortstop McKenzie “Taz” Powell, not to mention Baily Stewart, Brittany Medlin and Molly Moon. After year one redux with Wood, the players now have a better understanding of who she is and what she expects of them, which will be beneficial in Wood’s second year with the group.
“I do think this was a transition year. So anytime you have a new coach it is an adjustment for all players and coaches. I think we do have a great group of players returning. We only lost three seniors this year,” Wood said. “This’ll be better for us with me being used to them and it not being as much of a transition that we do have high hopes for next year as well. One thing for us to be successful in crucial games, our mental approach and preparation has to be better so I think that’s something that we can definitely continue to work on in the future.”
Wood says that she’s like to emphasize the importance of being strong mentally going into next season and that she wants her players to use the 7-0 loss as motivation to come back and be better. Wood said that she thinks the loss will make the players stronger.