Rivals have hope for the future

Chris Thelen/Staff
Josey's Patrick Meyers slides safely into second base under the tag of Laney's Cameron Stallings during their game Tuesday.
VIDEO: Watch highlights of Josey baseball at Laney. [3 min. 17 sec.]

Maybe Halle Berry wakes up and screeches at the mirror. Maybe the apple that fell to plunk Isaac Newton on the head was rotten. Maybe a worm even smiled back.


Josey and Laney think along those lines about their baseball teams this year.

"It's not where we are at now," Josey coach Mario Anderson said. "It's the direction we are going. This year is a good start. We can improve a lot upon this."

The Eagles finished off a two-game sweep of Laney at the Lucy Craft Laney Sports Complex on Tuesday with a 7-3 victory.

It wasn't solid baseball. Laney committed 11 errors. The Eagles made three errors, had three passed balls and hit two Laney batters. They had just three hits.

"This was still progress out here," Anderson said.

The Wildcats missed an opportunity to finish with a .500 season in dropping their last two games to their rival. They still finished with the best record in nine years under coach Gerry Hunter at 10-14.

Josey paired Monday's 19-18 win with Tuesday's result to improve its record to 8-13.

"The results are starting to come," Anderson said. "We've got three wins in a tough region. Maybe it will boost morale in our program. Maybe we get more of our athletes to come out next year. Maybe they'll think this team isn't as bad as they thought it was."

Anderson said it was the first time the Josey program won more than seven games since 1999. It felt like 14 years to Tuesday's winning pitcher Aaron Hayes.

There had been a lot of bad times with no brighter days in sight. Tuesday was different.

"Laney beat us both games last year and they were talking," Hayes said. "They had been talking junk. But we got them."

Hayes was as effective as he needed to be. The sophomore tried to work in a lot of off-speed pitches to go along with a fastball that already tops out at more than 80 mph on the radar gun.

He had five walks but did strand eight Wildcats. Hayes recorded the third out four times with a Laney runner at third.

The glass half-full outlook for the Wildcats was the minimal damage done considering the 11 errors and five walks. Wildcat starter Ricardo Pryor also hit one batter, had two passed balls, two wild pitches and had seven bases stolen on him.

A total of seven runs is a mild output for an opponent who was awarded that many free bases.

"It's been a lot worse," Hunter said. "The thing I saw was the guys were in a position to make the plays today.

"We haven't even been in the position to make the play in the past. Getting in position to make the play is the first thing a team has to do. Making the play is the second."

Josey finishes up at Screven County on Thursday.

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.



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