COVINGTON, Ga. — At long last, the Eastside High School baseball team took the field at the Eagle’s Nest for the first time in 2020 on Monday night.
The opening month of the high school baseball season has been unkind to teams across the state of Georgia. Inclement weather has resulted in a plethora of game cancellations, and the Eagles are perhaps one of the clubs that have been affected the most. In addition to losing more than 35 days of practice, they were forced to play their first nine games of the regular season away from the comfort of their park.
Asked how it felt to finally get a game in on his home turf, Eastside head coach Brandon Crumbley put on a smile, let out a sigh and gently shook his head.
“Man, it feels like we haven’t been in baseball season because this is the first time since I’ve been here that we have not played a game [at Eastside] the entire month of February,” Crumbley said. “And it’s been tough. It’s just hard to get in a rhythm, hard to get in a groove when Mother Nature’s not cooperating. But everybody in the state’s dealing with it, so we’re doing what we can.”
Crumbley’s crew had no issue finding their groove during Monday's doubleheader against Salem.
The Eagles (5-6, 2-0) opened Region 4-AAAA in dominant fashion, plating 40 runs in two games to complete the sweep of the visiting Seminoles. They rode a strong first inning to a 15-0 victory in the first leg before clobbering their way to a 25-0 win in the nightcap.
Eastside outhit Salem (0-5, 0-2) 29-3 while inducing 12 fielding errors and invoking the mercy rule in the third inning of both contests. The Seminoles were clearly overmatched, but with the Eagles coming off back-to-back second-place finishes in the region behind Woodward Academy, a 2-0 start in league play is always encouraging.
“We just handle business and do what good teams do. We did our job, did what we were supposed to do,” Crumbley said. “We talk a lot about the process and we’re not looking ahead. Sometimes people like to look ahead and say, ‘Oh, it’s Eastside and Woodward.’ At the end of the day it is, but at the same time, we understand that there are stepping stones to get there.”
The Eagles will travel to Greensboro on Wednesday for a doubleheader with North Oconee on Lake Oconee Academy’s turf field. The Titans are a reigning Class AAAA state semifinalist and will enter the matchup at 7-1 on the year.
“A really good team, an older team with some really good pitching,” Crumbley said of North Oconee. “So we’re going to have to go in there and get our minds right again to face some good pitching on the mound and play a quality team.”