Thursday, March 27, 2014
The upcoming week is a big one for the North Augusta High School baseball team.
The Jackets (3-3, 0-3 Region 5-AAAA) were able to split this week’s games, but stumbled in an important region test against Aiken. Head coach Vic Radcliff’s team finds itself tied for last in the region standings with South Aiken.
“If you are playing a region game or non-region game you have to bring the same consistency in playing,” he said. “We didn’t do that at Aiken. They’re a team that is fairly young themselves, but they did things when they had opportunities and made us play defense. We didn’t execute some things and they took advantage of it. That’s the thing about baseball; when we have the opportunity to make a play we need to step up and make a play.”
Senior leader Ryan Lark led the team with three hits in the 6-5 loss. Chaz Davey got the start on the mound and went 4.1 innings.
On Saturday, the Jackets got an explosive offensive performance, thumping Evans 13-5. Ryan Hammond, Drew Huskey and Corbin Lutier all had two RBIs, and Nick Clary picked up the win on the mound.
“We came out against Evans, and I feel like Evans and Lakeside are equivalent to our region teams, and we looked like a totally different team,” Radcliff said. “We had 13 runs and 15 hits. The pitching and defense played well for the most part. It’s just a matter of taking one game at a time, keeping focus and playing within yourself, not trying to do too much and allowing the game to come to you.”
The Jackets have another region test against Dutch Fork in a game scheduled for Tuesday. However, the big game looming on the schedule is a rematch with No. 3 Lexington, on Thursday at 7 p.m. The game was moved due to potential bad weather. The Jackets hung with the Wildcats in the season opener and had chances in the 4-2 loss, but now they must go on the road to attempt the upset. They will also play Fox Creek at home on Saturday at 5 p.m.
“This is a big week for us,” Radcliff said. “If we don’t do well this week it’s going to determine the playoffs, and that’s a big factor. ... No one likes to lose, but even in the loss we had opportunities to possibly win that game with some key hits, and putting the ball in play at key points. I told the kids that we can play with these guys, and we can beat them.”
Lutier said he and his teammates believe that the momentum of the Evans game will carry over.
“We were able to win because we didn’t put extra pressure on ourselves. We went out there and played the game the way we know how to,” he said. “We are going to have a different mind set going into this week because now each game is a must-win. From pitch one we are going to have to come out with great intensity and keep it up the whole game.”
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star.