Thursday, April 3, 2014
An unexpected week off has Derrick Quinn’s team refocused heading into the latter stages of the season.
The Jackets (6-4, 3-2 Region 5-AAAA) fell to Dutch Fork 3-1 on March 25, then were rained out on Friday. The next contest for North Augusta was scheduled for Tuesday at White Knoll.
“We didn’t practice Friday, we had a light workout Sunday,” Quinn, North Augusta’s head coach, said. “It’s just fine-tuning now. I mean, you’ve got to hit everyday and take ground balls everyday. That’s about it.”
While his team is playing well, Quinn is looking for his team to pick it up going into spring break. His team will play two region games and the Triple Crown Tournament in Aiken before taking a week off.
“It’s a big week and we want to play good going into spring break,” he said. “We’ve got the whole week off for spring break and we want to be feeling good about ourselves before a big break. They’re big (games). Everybody is beating everybody in our region. Every game is important. White Knoll is a good team and South Aiken beat us last game, so, we’ve got a big week this week.”
Region foes White Knoll and South Aiken present the next challenge for the Jackets. South Aiken beat North Augusta 10-9 to give the Jackets their first region loss, a fact which isn’t lost on the players.
“We want more wins,” Kaleigh Busbee, senior third baseman for the Jackets, said. “We need to have more good at-bats and more hits. We need to improve and hit as a team. The region is pretty crazy, but I hope we can come out on top. It’s crazy that everybody is beating each other, that really doesn’t ever happen. We’d never lost to South Aiken, so we’re looking to win that matchup.”
The Triple Crown Tournament, which will take place Friday and Saturday at Citizens Park in Aiken, will see North Augusta and Fox Creek renew their rivalry.
“We’re gonna play a lot of teams,” Quinn said. “It’s a great chance to work all my pitchers and give everybody some playing time. Hopefully, we’ll do a lot better than we have in the past in that tournament.”
Busbee is hopeful that her team will come out on top.
“We’re a pretty good team and they (Fox Creek) are, too,” she said. “We just need to become more solid all around. As a team, we need to improve everywhere.”
For the rest of the season, Quinn will rely on his seniors to carry the team.
“I’m senior heavy, I’ve got six seniors,” he said. “I told them after Dutch Fork, basically, we’re gonna win with them or lose with them. I put it all on my seniors, how they perform. Our seniors are playing hard and doing good, but there’s something better they can be doing. As a senior group, we’re not hitting the ball real good; we aren’t consistent. If we all start hitting the ball good, I think we’ll be a tough team to beat.”
North Augusta will travel to White Knoll in a game that was to have happened on Tuesday and will face South Aiken at home on Thursday before traveling to Aiken for a tournament on Friday and Saturday.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star.