Jackets varsity baseball loses three straight games
It was a week to forget for the North Augusta High School varsity baseball team.
The Jackets (5-6, 2-3 Region 5-AAAA) lost three straight this week. The first matchup of the week, against Dutch Fork, proved to be too much as the Silver Foxes won 7-2. Corbin Lutier went 3-for-3 and Chaz Davey threw a complete game. Five of the runs against Davey were earned.
"I felt like the pitching did fine, but we didn't score a run until the fifth inning," North Augusta head coach Vic Radcliff said. "I believe we cut it down to 4-2 and had opportunities to get back in the ballgame but didn't take advantage of situations."
Lakeside (Ga.) was next up for the Jackets, and, once again, the bats fell cold. North Augusta fell in that game 1-0.
"Seems like right now our offense, as far as hitting consistently, is the big issue right now," Radcliff said.Lexington, another region opponent, rounded out the week and sent the Jackets to their third consecutive loss. Pitcher Jake McCormick, who had been out with an injury, returned for the game and pitched a scoreless first. However, as has been North Augusta's luck, after loading the bases in the bottom of the first with one out, the Jackets walked away with nothing.
"We didn't even get a flyball," Radcliff said. "We didn't execute and ended up not getting anything. That could of been a big inning for us to jump out on them. Then, in the fourth inning, they put a rally together and scored four runs. In the next two innings we threw up zeros. Offensively, I think we're playing mind games with ourselves and not putting the ball in play like we need to."
Lexington went on to win over North Augusta, 9-0.
"One of the things I said to them (following the loss to Lexington) is that I think we have some talent on this team," Radcliff said. "Mentally some of our kids are doubting their ability at the plate. They're trying to bust out at once instead of focusing on making solid contact. It's kind of mind-boggling because we spent a lot of time on hitting. Coming out of the preseason games I felt good. We hit the ball one through nine and didn't have a lot of strikeouts. Kids that were hitting and were solid at the plate are the ones that are somewhat struggling."
Radcliff has told his team that "80 percent of the game is between the ears" and that the rest is about getting prepared.
"Right now I'm twiddling my fingers, trying to figure out what we're not doing as coaches to get them prepared and trying to see what else we need to do," he said.
This week the Jackets will play a game that was to have happened on Tuesday at White Knoll. On Wednesday the team will travel to play Lakeside again before a big game on Friday at home against South Aiken.
When asked about who needs to step up, Radcliff pointed to a number of offensive players that needed to start putting together quality at-bats.
"Well I think one of the big keys is that JoJo Higgenbottom has got to hit," he said. "We got to have Ryan Lark, Zach Wilson and Cody Turner also. Those guys were hot at one time, and it seemed like the ball looked like a big beach ball coming in. Now it's been shrunk down to a golf ball. We've just got to keep working hard."