You need a little luck to win anything in team-oriented sports whether it’s the world series, the NBA Championship, the Super Bowl or game three of a second round Georgia state playoff game. Eastside was better than North Oconee but they weren’t luckier.
And that sucks because the girls from North Oconee were less than gracious, mostly. They were taunting Eastside the entire series. It went from yelling unnecessarily and unabashedly loud to the point of utter annoyance to verbal jabs at Eastside throughout the game.
It rubbed the players the wrong way and the fans, some of who shook their heads after each taunt, but all inevitably cheered louder for Eastside because of it all.
For instance, before game three Eastside rallied around third base and gathered in a circle to do their “Eastside” chant which was just them pumping each other up. Then right after they finished, the girls from the other team mocked the cheer. Why? I don’t know.
It was petty. It was something you expect your little brother or sister to do. Newton doesn’t even do things like that and the two schools are rivals. Eastside deserved a better opponent – in terms of class – than North Oconee; which explains why everybody that wasn’t from North Oconee, even visitors from Newton and Alcovy, were pulling for Eastside. Especially the Lady Eagles’ seniors: Brittany Medlin, Catlin Ray, Alexis Dibuccio (who missed the entire series after sustaining a knee injury in the first round), McKenzie Powell and Bailey Stewart.
They all played hard and were a big reason why Eastside was in position to beat North Oconee and make it to Columbus to play in the elite eight.
“They’ve all contributed in different ways to this team,” Heather Wood, Eastside coach, said. “They’ve showed tremendous leadership throughout the season. I felt like they deserved it and they deserved to be in Columbus, but things just didn’t go our way.”
Molly Moon and DiBuccio both missed the series due to injury, but they would’ve made a huge difference in the outcome. DiBuccio’s bat had gotten hot lately and she’d been moved up to No. 3 in the lineup fortifying an already strong offensive lineup.
Moon provided the Lady Eagles’ with pitching depth, which would’ve given Ray a rest in between the three games she pitched, though she did pitch three excellent games. Fatigue set in for Ray, in the second and third games, although she gave Eastside enough to win, some relief by Moon might have done the job in two one-run losses.
To the seniors, it hurts to go out like that, but you’re all class acts. And sometimes your all just isn’t enough. It’d be worse if you could’ve gave more, but I watched all three of those games and you couldn’t have fought harder.
From the cheers to counter North Oconee’s yelling, to the mound gatherings when Ray struggled at the mound you were there for each other, and even in the end when Medlin struck out to end the game and the team gathered around her for support. There you were all of you, hurt, disappointed with tears streaming from your eyes...together.