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Senior-led Eastside Eagles on the edge of a playoff berth
Eastside Baseball 2024
Eastside senior Brayson Osburn (10) running towards home plate to score a run against the Heritage Patriots. - photo by Garrett Pitts

Now in the later stages of the season, the Eastside Eagles baseball team has their eyes set on earning a playoff berth.

With one more week left in the regular season, the Eagles find themselves in position to make it happen with a third place position in Region 8-AAAAA.

One of the big reasons for Eastside’s success on the diamond in 2024 is its senior class, which takes up a large portion of the lineup.

“I think we all really want it since we are all seniors,” said senior Brayson Osburn. “I think we have a shot to go deep in the playoffs.”

Osburn is one of the many Eastside seniors looking to make one final run at the playoffs.

With the multitude of seniors and different types of ball players, head coach Cody Walker feels it can be anyone’s night when the Eagles take the diamond.

“We are senior heavy this year,” Walker said. “Blake [Hughes] has swung it well all year. Colton Fincher has swung it pretty well but we are a team that has to rely on all nine. We don’t have one or two guys that are going to go 3-for-3 or 4-for-4 each game. We lay bunts down often, we play small ball and just scratch runs across.”

Relying on the seniors and having a small ball approach has led to recent success for Eastside in the latter half of the season.

Ahead of the two-game series against the Jefferson Dragons, the Eagles were winners of seven of their last 10 ball games.

According to senior Blake Hughes, it all starts in the box.

“We have been swinging it,” Hughes said. “We were making plays in the field. But, now we are swinging it and picking up the runs to help our pitchers out.”

Osburn shared the same sentiment as the team’s plate approach is something both seniors harped on.

“We all go up there with the right attitude and the right approach at the plate,” Osburn said. “We all know what we want to do.”

The Eagles entered the series against the No. 2 ranked Dragons 12-11 on the season with a 6-4 record in Region 8-AAAAA.

Eastside sits at third place in front of Flowery Branch, who also holds a 6-4 record in region play.

From the start of the season to now, Walker feels like his team has made an adjustment on the small aspects of the game.

“[We’re making] plays we weren’t making earlier in the year — especially in the field, [just] starting to get some of that baseball IQ down,” Walker said. “Better plays in bigger situations and getting the job done in the field. The hitting has come along.”

With the Jefferson series being an important one for the Eagles, the seniors feel it will come down to how well they adjust to the Dragons’ pitching staff.

“We just need to swing it,” Hughes said. “We have been doing our thing with pitching against the big teams. Hopefully get a base hit, get the bunts down and score some runs.”

With the team’s bats under high regard, Walker sees his pitching staff as the key for the Eagles to win their final games and secure a spot in the playoffs.

“As far as pitching, we are going to need at least one long outing from Blake,” Walker said. “He has been throwing well for us all year. So for him to go out and get us some innings to where we can jump ahead and hold them, that is really going to be the key for us.”

With the stakes high in the final week, the players feel they have the right team and the right energy to make a run.

“I think it [the energy] is really high right now since we have a chance to go to the playoffs,” Osburn said. “We just need to win these next two games. It is good energy.”