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Thursday, March 27, 2014
The Lady Jackets offense had been struggling, but the bats came awake on Friday.
North Augusta (6-3, 3-1 Region 5-AAAA) suffered tough losses to start the week. The first came at region foe South Aiken, 10-9. The second came against Bluffton, 4-2, in seven innings. However, the Jackets, ranked No. 6 in the latest High School Sports Report, laid the lumber on Aiken, winning 16-0 in four-and-a-half innings.
Head coach Derrick Quinn said that the performance was due to a lot of hard work put in by the team.
“Those two games before were tough,” he said. “My girls are resilient. They do a real good job of practicing and they relaxed and played good ball.”
Against South Aiken, leadoff hitter Karly Heath went 3-for-4 with four RBIs and a run scored. Kaleigh Busbee and Grace Flanders also had two RBIs in the loss.
Bluffton quieted the Jacket bats, however, with only Busbee and Chelsea Newman getting RBIs – both coming on solo home runs. Those two, along with Heath, accounted for the only three Jacket hits in the game.
After the romp against Aiken, Quinn said that his team simply has to “stay the course.”
“We just need to apply what we do in practice to the games,” he said. “We are a great practice team right now. They’re working extremely hard. It just takes one or two girls getting hits here or there and good things happen.”
That turned out to be the case against the Hornets. Brooke Lavallee went 3-for-4 and had six RBIs. Heath provided a spark at the top of the lineup, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two RBIs and four runs scored. Maddie Shiver had three RBIs, Haley Dunbar went 2-for-3 with two RBIs and Busbee also had two RBIs to stuff the stat sheet.
Quinn said the key was for his hitters to stay patient.
“That’s been a problem for us all year,” he said. “We have had a hard time staying back. We did a real good job at hitting everything up the middle tonight.”
Newman said that before the team’s game against Aiken that Quinn told the team that good hitters can adjust to any type of pitching.
“We just had to win, we needed this win,” she said. “This was a prime example of what happens when we play as a team and have a good team. That’s what North Augusta is – we’re just good.”