COVINGTON, Ga. — The Eastside Eagles’ baseball season came to an abrupt and disappointing close Wednesday night as Eastside (23-5, 13-1 in region 4-AAAA) dropped the first two games of their three game series against the Northside Patriots (24-7, 11-4 in region 1-AAAA) in the first round of the AAAA state playoffs by scores of 8-1 and 10-0.
Northside made quick work of the Eagles’ batters and did a good job of keeping their mistakes at a minimum. The efficiency of the Patriots’ pitchers and the aggressive approach that the Eagles took at the plate ultimately made for two quick games.
Northside’s game one starter, Connor Sizemore, only threw 53 pitches in 7 shutout innings in a complete game. Colton Joyner followed up that strong performance with one of his own in game two as he tossed just 63 pitches in 6 innings of complete game shutout work.
Eastside head coach Brandon Crumbley wanted his team to be aggressive and was pleased with their approach in the early stages, but as their deficit built, he saw his team’s frustrations lead to mistakes.
“We got pitches to hit and we hit them, but we hit them right at them,” Crumbley said. “It was like we couldn’t have anything go our way, but that’s just baseball. At times we hit the ball well, but like I said, in that second game we got so in a funk that we could not get out of it.”
The Eagles also had their struggles in the field that led to multiple runs in both games. Crumbley knows that this type of play is devastating especially against a team like the Patriots.
“I mean I’ve been saying that all year. If you give a good team free 90s, they’re going to take advantage of it. We gave a lot of free 90s up, in a way, and they scored runs,” said Crumbley. “Look at them defense wise, they didn’t give up any free 90s. They made the outs and the routine plays when they needed to. We didn’t at times.”
The Eagles pitchers had a tough night in both games as well, and Crumbley admits that both starters did not have their best stuff.
“Their guys did really well of keeping us off balance, pounding the strike zone and throwing their breaking pitches when they needed to for strikes,” Crumbley said. “Cade (Mitchell) and Jackson (Feeney) kind of struggled tonight as far as throwing strikes. “At times, they (Cade and Jackson), were locked in and pounding it, and then sometimes their breaking pitch wasn’t there.”
Crumbley mentioned that although this was a sad end to what was an overall great Eagles season, this team has a lot to be proud of. With only four seniors on the roster, including a bullpen full of promising pitchers, Crumbley said his bunch has a lot of room to grow and can be a force in the future.
“The good thing about this is we’re going to get better,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of guys coming back and they’re going to get better and we’re going to work. I’ve said it before, this group is fearless and we’re going to get better. I think next year, with what we have coming back, we can be really special if we come together as a team and a unit and really work hard and get better.”