Thursday, April 17, 2014
The layoff didn’t cool down the Fox Creek High School baseball team.
Before spring break, head coach Wesley Brown had hoped that his team would get refocused. But for the early part of Monday’s game against Lakeside, his Predators (15-2, 7-0 Region 4-A) his team looked sluggish.
The first time through the lineup, the Predators struck out six times against Lakeside ace Evan Krenz, who struck out seven all together in three innings.
That’s when Brown decided to take the reins on his team, and Fox Creek ended up with a 3-2 win.
“Like I said back before the break, we’ve been struggling at the plate,” he said. “Over time, my style has changed. I used to be a real aggressive coach with bunting and moving runners. I’ve sat back a little bit too much this year and let them play. Here, I tried to put some pressure on their defense, and it worked. We still hit the ball when we needed to. That’s the big key.”
Fox Creek didn’t break through until the fourth inning, when Brandyn Quiller got on base and was eventually driven in by Deondre Baskett.
Dalton Swires, who was the designated hitter for the game, also came around to score on a bunt by Brett Butler.
Lakeside would respond with its second unearned run off starter Adam Hane in the top of the fifth.
Fox Creek responded in the bottom of the inning after a heads up play by Terrance Hillary, who took off for third unchallenged.
Quiller knocked a base hit, and Hillary came around to score on a hit to shallow left. Hillary found himself starting in right field due a disciplinary issue.
Hane picked up the win on the mound, going six innings with five strikeouts.
Swires came on in relief to close out the game with a scoreless seventh, clinching the 3-2 victory.
Brown refers to the duo as his “super sophomores” for the job they do on the mound – particularly Hane, who had to work his way back from an early season injury.
“They’re a great opponent, and I really feel like I hit my spots well with my fastball,” Hane said.
Quiller, along with Baskett, were the only players to have two hits in the game.
“The game plan was to come out here, hit the ball and play defense,” Quiller said. “... We knew that if we didn’t get the ball in play and score some runs that we weren’t going to win. We had to do something to change that.”
Brown said he expected his team to struggle with Krenz.
“He’s their No. 1 pitcher,” he said. “That team is very good. They finished second in their region with Evans and Greenbrier this year. That’s the same kind of people you are going to face in the playoffs when you get in a deep run. ... We’ve still got five games to go and the playoffs. I’m looking forward to that. This is a momentum builder and we just have to keep it going.”
Fox Creek’s week will include a scheduled game against Wagener-Salley on Wednesday, which will be senior night for the team.
On Friday, they will travel to Ridge Spring-Monetta, where a win will secure the region crown.
Scott Rodgers is the news editor at The North Augusta Star and has been with the paper since 2013. Follow him on Twitter @NAStarRodgers.