Originally created 08/16/98

Jackets woes not at an end



When the agony finally was over Marty Brown was positioned in the clubhouse to console 25 dejected ballplayers following yet another demoralizing defeat.

Ejected from the game along with hitting coach Jeff Treadway in the sixth inning, the GreenJackets manager had some time to cool off and reflect on the last 12 nights.

Twelve nights, 11 losses. And needless to say, Brown got more than a few smiles from his players as he greeted them with encouraging words while dressed as Sting, the team mascot.

When things are going as bad as they've been lately, all you can do is laugh.

"What are you going to do, they played their asses off tonight and gave 100 percent," said Brown, whose Jackets blew their first lead in more than a week and lost their 10th straight game Saturday night, 7-5 to the Capital City Bombers, before 1,717 fans at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

"You can't really complain about that. They played a good ballgame and just got beat."

There's apparently no help in the offing since the deadline for teams to submit their postseason roster to the South Atlantic League passed last week. And despite a request for help from Brown, no moves were made.

Rumors had been circulating about the possible return of Eddy Furnissas well as some pitching help from Lynchburg, but Pittsburgh Pirates director of player development Paul Tinnell told Brown he would not make any immediate moves.

Rules allow players from lower levels to be added to the Augusta postseason roster between now and the start of the playoffs Aug. 31, but an organization cannot drop players from higher levels down to playoff-bound clubs after Aug. 10.

For obvious reasons, adding the bat of Furniss -- the former Louisiana State All-American who batted .465 with nine home runs and 31 RBI in 24 games with Augusta before jumping to Class AA Carolina -- would have been welcomed with open arms.

The first-place Bombers rallied twice and, with a a three-run eighth inning, swept the four-game series with the Jackets and ended their homestand 1-11.

Since opening the second half 14-5 to build a cushy early lead in the Southern Division, the Jackets have fallen to last place by losing 11 of their last 27 and 18 of their last 20. On the homestand, they were outscored 74-25 and outhit 121-79.

The Jackets will take a much-needed day off today before embarking on an 11-game road trip, beginning on Monday in Hickory, N.C. Brown hopes some positives taken from Saturday's game and the off day will recharge his club's battery.

"I'm very proud of this club through all we've been through lately," Brown said. "This is actually a good loss for us because it wasn't anything they didn't do to lose the game. They gave it everything and the other team won. We can live with that."

NOTES: New York Mets general manager Steve Phillips was again in attendance at The Lake on Saturday. Phillips is in town to get a first-hand look at talent-rich Capital City, particularly center fielder Alex Escobar and third baseman Mo Bruce. Pirates GM and Macon native Cam Bonifay will be in Hickory, N.C., to watch the Jackets face the Crawdads on Monday. ... Terrance Freeman stole his first base in nine games, his 41st of the season. .... Victor Gutierrez got stolen base No. 49, leaving him three short of tying the Augusta record set by Derrick Swafford, who had 52 in 1995. ... Playoff tickets go on sale Monday at 9 a.m. at Lake Olmstead Stadium. The GreenJackets, who won the first half of the Southern Division, will travel to face the second-half champion in Game 1 of the SAL Divisional Playoff Series on Aug. 31. Game 2 will be played at The Lake on Sept. 1 and, if necessary, the Jackets will also host a decisive Game 3 of the series on Sept. 2.

Capital City -- 1 0 3 0 0 0 0 3 0 -- 7
Augusta -- 2 2 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 -- 5

E -- Roach (14), Perez (23). DP -- Capital City 2. LOB -- Capital City 11, Augusta 12. 2B -- Bruce (23), Roach (22), Copeland 2 (21), DeHaan (35), Lankford (23), Sosa (3), Rivera (13), Burns (17), Freeman (15). 3B -- Escobar (4). SB -- Bruce (42), Gutierrez (49), DeHaan (33), Freeman (41). CS -- Moreno (7). S -- Crespo 2.