EAST JACKSON tried to play the role of spoiler to get to the state tournament but came up short in both its contests at the Region 8-AAA tournament.
The Eagles lost to Oconee County 9-3 and North Oconee 7-1 last Wednesday (Oct. 3) to finish the season 6-12-1 in their first year under coach Brent Howell.
“Looking back on our season we can point to a handful of plays that if they go the other way we would be in a much different position headed into the tournament,” he said. “Throughout the year, I felt we were right on the edge of breaking through and making a run.”
Playing as the no. 8 seed at the 8-AAA tournament, East Jackson took on top-seeded Oconee County in what was a back-and-forth contest for the first five innings.
“I thought that against Oconee we came out ready to play,” Howell said. “We were able to do several good things during the game. It was 3-3 going into the bottom of the fifth inning. Coach Eades from Oconee and I discussed how it was almost identical to the game we played them during the regular season.”
But East Jackson was unable to cash-in several scoring opportunities and Oconee County’s offense found a spark late.
“We were just unable to push across a couple of runs when we had the chances but Oconee came out swinging in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings, so we have to give them credit,” Howell said.
East Jackson’s game against North Oconee played out in somewhat similar fashion. The Eagles trailed 3-1 in the fifth, but the Titans broke the game open late.
“Again, in the North Oconee game we were able to do several things well but we made a few mistakes defensively that costs us several runs,” Howell said. “It was 3-1 headed into the fifth inning and we had a chance to score more runs but just could not get the big hit.”
Howell said his team played in one of the most competitive regions in all of Class AAA and improved throughout the year.
“We were young in experience in several areas but I felt we continued to battle and get better,” Howell said. “We are going to miss our three seniors from this year. Taylor Nix, Kelsey Palette and Alx Wheeler will be tough to replace."