Thursday, April 17, 2014
North Augusta High School’s baseball team is making a push for the playoffs.
The Jackets (8-7, 2-4 Region 5-AAAA) have gone 1-1 in the Sandlapper Invitational hosted by Gilbert and Pelion high schools, losing to Gilbert 7-6 on Saturday before beating rival Strom Thurmond 6-5 on Monday.
“I think, against Gilbert, we started fast and scored three runs in the first inning,” Vic Radcliff, North Augusta’s head coach, said. “But, we came out in the bottom of the first and let Gilbert score five. We weren’t locating our pitches very well, and Gilbert wasn’t scared to swing the bats. They have a great program and play good ball. They were able to score some runs off us. I was proud of our kids for not hanging their heads and keeping up the fight. We were able to tie it back up going into the seventh inning before they won it in a walk-off.”
The Sandlapper Invitational began during North Augusta’s spring break and Masters week, which took some players from the Jackets.
“It was spring break for us, and we had some guys missing,” Radcliff said. “We had some guys with family obligations and work, so we played with the guys we had available.”
The second game for North Augusta in the tournament was against Strom Thurmond at Pelion High School.
The Jackets were able to win the game, although it was tight down the stretch.
“Strom Thurmond has some good players and really played a good game,” Radcliff said. “I had a talk with Chaz Davey and some of the other seniors to let them know we needed them to step up. Chaz pitched well against Strom and Bryson Conner came in to close it down. They’re both good players for us and helped us get a win we needed.”
North Augusta was to face Brookland-Cayce High School on Tuesday morning, but the game was moved due to rain.
The Jackets will finish the Sandlapper Invitational with an amended schedule on Wednesday.
After the tournament, North Augusta will have a makeup game against region foe South Aiken that was to have been played on March 18, but was moved for a scheduling conflict.
“We’ve played on Good Friday before, but we don’t want to because it’s a special day,” Radcliff said. “Because of the way things are crunched up here at the end of the year, we may end up playing South Aiken that day. We’ve got it tentatively scheduled for 2 p.m. on Friday at Riverview Park.”
The Jackets are hoping to catch fire at the end of the year and move into the playoffs with some momentum. Radcliff said everything starts with pitching for his team.
“It all starts on the pitchers mound for us,” he said. “If we have a good outing, we’re going to be in a lot of ball games. We’ve got to be able to pitch well and put some runs on the board. We’re still working to get better.”
North Augusta’s next scheduled game will be at Midland Valley on Saturday, but will have tournament games and the South Aiken makeup game to be played on the week.
T.J. Lundeen is a reporter for The North Augusta Star. Follow him on Twitter @lundeentj for more updates.