Construction of GreenJackets' wall nearly complete

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A small, rushed group of Augusta GreenJackets staffers managed to put up a temporary wall less than 24 hours after heavy thunderstorms brought down the old center-field wall at Lake Olmstead Stadium earlier this month.

The permanent center-field wall at Lake Olmstead Stadium should be finished Tuesday and painted Wednesday. The old wall was knocked down by a storm on July 13 and a temporary wall installed.   Billy Byler/Staff
Billy Byler/Staff
The permanent center-field wall at Lake Olmstead Stadium should be finished Tuesday and painted Wednesday. The old wall was knocked down by a storm on July 13 and a temporary wall installed.

With the team playing on the road, a larger crew has been able to construct a more permanent fix.

General manager Nick Brown said a new center-field wall will greet the GreenJackets when they arrive at the stadium Thursday for the first of four home games against Hickory. The work, paid for by the team's insurance company, could be completed as early as today, with Wednesday set aside for painting.

"It should look the same (as the old one) with the same dimensions and size," Brown said. "It'll just be a little more sturdy and have a little more bracing in the back."

The temporary fix included a dark screen as the batters' eye that was not in the field of play. The new repair will include a permanent batters' eye that will be part of the playing field.

Brown said Maner Builders Supply Co. did the work on the original wall in 1995 and will once again handle the construction. The wall came down in heavy winds on July 13 about an hour before the GreenJackets were scheduled to play the Hagerstown Suns.

The game was made up a week later when Augusta went to Hagerstown, Md., for a four-game series, but one game was canceled after storms at the Suns' Municipal Stadium brought down a light tower onto the field.

FILLING IN: The GreenJackets lost their top slugger when Adam Duvall went down with a hamstring injury last week in Hagerstown. The All-Star third baseman entered the week with a share of the league lead in home runs at 20. Asheville's Kyle Parker passed him for the league lead in RBI, though Duvall is still just one behind with 76.

Despite the loss of their top offensive weapon, the GreenJackets have made up for it.

"The team responded well. The first night (without Duvall) we had 15 hits," manager Lipso Nava said. "It was the core of the lineup, guys like (Ryan ) Lollis , (Josh ) Mazzola and (Ryan ) Scoma who stepped up."

Mazzola made just his fifth start of the season at third baseman the game after Duvall's injury and went 2 for 5 with a double and an RBI.

Raynor Campbell , who returned to the lineup over the road trip after dealing with a wrist injury, started at third Sunday night and went 2 for 4.

WAITING GAME: Nava didn't give a timeline for Duvall's expected return.

"We don't know yet. We don't know the full magnitude (of the injury) yet," he said. "Hopefully he won't be out long."

With 39 games remaining in the regular season, Duvall sits just two home runs shy of tying the GreenJackets' single-season record. He needs just one homer to tie last year's team leader Chris Dominguez , who hit 21.

The current single-season record holder is Derrick Lankford , who hit 22 home runs during the 1998 season.

Before the injury, Duvall was on pace to hit 28 this season.

RETURNED: Edward Concepcion made his first appearance in more than a month Saturday night after serving a 25-game suspension for violating Minor League Baseball's substance abuse policy. He gave up one hit and struck out two in a scoreless inning to help Augusta beat Lakewood 4-1.

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