Bond hits wherever he's playing

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Much has changed for Brock Bond in his first season with the Augusta GreenJackets.

After serving as a starter at second base last year in rookie ball, he's seen action in several different roles at the Class A level. He's started at third base three times, got the nod at second base four times, taken over as a designated hitter seven times, and also has come off the bench to fill in as a pinch hitter this year.

"Hitters, if they're good hitters, tend to be good regardless of what else they're doing," GreenJackets manager Andy Skeels said. "We've been trying to figure out ways to get him in the lineup."

No matter how Bond gets to the plate, the 22-year-old switch hitter is making the most of it. Through Friday's play, Bond was leading the South Atlantic League with a .418 batting average and a .484 on-base percentage. He entered this weekend's three-game homestand riding a 10-game hit streak that included a 1-for-1 night on Friday, when his only at-bat was a pinch hit in the ninth inning.

The streak ranks second behind Thomas Neal among active consecutive hit streaks this season for Augusta. Neal hit safely in 14 consecutive games entering Saturday's contest.

On a team ranked 11th out of 16 in the league in hitting, those two streaks have helped.

"We're still new, and we know it's a long season," Bond said. "We know it takes time to gel, and we're starting to do that."

SPEAKING OF STREAKS: The GreenJackets have another long streak going in the early part of the season, but it's one they'd rather not continue.

The team entered the weekend guilty of an error in 17 consecutive games.

In the first 22 games, the GreenJackets have committed at least one error in 21 of them. The only exception was an eight-inning game on April 6 that was the second part of a Sunday afternoon doubleheader.

GREENJACKET GRADUATES: A group of former GreenJackets made big strides at the next level last week:

- Jonathan Sanchez , who played in Augusta in 2005, dominated the Cincinnati Reds on Friday as the starting pitcher for the San Francisco Giants. The 25-year old lefty struck out 10 batters in eight innings of work. Sanchez (2-1, 3.54 ERA) gave up only one run on four hits to lead the Giants to a 3-1 win.

Eugenio Velez , another former GreenJacket, started in right field for the Giants and went 2-for-4 with a double, two runs and a stolen base.

- Adam Cowart , one of the top pitchers in Augusta last year, turned in a strong performance in a no-decision on Friday for the Connecticut Defenders (Giants Class AA). He left with a lead after giving up only one run in six innings, but the Reading Phillies rallied to get two runs in the seventh off of Connecticut's bullpen for the win. Cowart is 1-1 this season with a 2.13 ERA in five starts.

IT ALL STARTED IN AUGUSTA: This past Saturday marked the 104th anniversary of Ty Cobb 's professional baseball debut. It took place at the old Warren Park in Augusta with a game pitting the Augusta Tourists vs. the Columbia Skyscrapers.

ANOTHER OLDTIMER: Former Savannah Indians pitcher Lou Brissie will be honored Monday and Tuesday in Savannah. The Sand Gnats will put on a banquet in Brissie's name on Monday night, then retire his jersey before their game against the Hickory Crawdads on Tuesday.

The banquet will be held on Monday at the riverfront Marriott at 6 p.m. Registration is $50, which includes dinner, a ticket to Tuesday's game, a replica Lou Brissie jersey T-shirt and a Lou Brissie figurine.

STANDINGS CHECK: An early look at the South Atlantic League standings has Augusta in the middle.

The GreenJackets entered the weekend fourth out of eight teams in the SAL Southern Division. They're seven games behind first-place Charleston, four games behind second-place Asheville and one game behind third-place Greenville.

THE NUMBERS DON'T LIE: If the GreenJackets' hitters need a run total to shoot for to ensure a win, it's safe to aim for a little more than four runs per game. In the season's first 22 games, the team is 10-3 when scoring four or more runs and 1-8 when scoring three or less. Augusta's average this season? Four runs per game. The team's record? 11-11.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 823-3216 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.


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