ELIZABETHTOWN — It’s been a quick turnaround for East Bladen basketball/softball coach Patty Evers and those Lady Eagles playing both sports.
East Bladen made a deep run in the state’s Class 2-A East Region basketball playoffs, losing in the Eastern Regional finals to eventual state champion North Pitt at the Crown in Fayetteville on March 5 to finish the season 31-1. On March 10, the Lady Eagles took to the diamond for their first game — a non-conference affair with St. Pauls.
“We have only had two practices and it put us way behind everyone else because I coach both sports,” Evers said this week.
The rust showed in that first game, as the Lady Bulldogs took an 11-7 win from East Bladen with six runs over the last two innings.
Senior pitcher Miller Heustess, junior second sacker Emily Scott and sophomore outfielder Shardajah Brown are the three returnees who also played basketball. The other two returnees include sophomores Kaylie Smith and Faith Johnson.
Of course, East Bladen also lost some top-notch talent with the graduation of first baseman Abby Norris, catcher Lexi Dawson and outfielder Anna Brewer from last season’s 14-6 overall team. The Lady Eagles were 10-4 in the conference.
But Evers has plenty of potential stepping in — including Anna Kate White, Olivia Hollingsworth, Ja’Tyra Moore-Peterson and Lauren Merritt.
“We have a fairly young team,” Evers said, “(and) our bench will have a ways to go, but all of the girls have had great attitudes.”
The Lady Eagles opened their Four County Conference schedule on Tuesday at Midway, and Evers thinks the conference will be as strong as ever.
“The conference is always strong with teams like Trask, Midway, West Bladen, Wallace, Pender … those are traditionally strong softball schools,” she said. “Trask is probably a unanimous choice to win the conference.”
East Bladen will host Clinton in a conference game on Friday at 6 p.m.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.