Originally created 03/24/01

North Augusta drops the ball



Through Drew Hummel's eyes, his North Augusta team has the ability and talent to contend in Region 3-AAAA baseball circles.

After Friday night's performance, he may be second-guessing himself.

For the second consecutive game, North Augusta committed five errors and were limited to two hits over seven innings in a 7-6 region loss to Irmo at Yellow Jackets Stadium.

"We are totally out of sync as a ballclub," Hummel said. "We are playing as bad as any team I've ever had. Irmo didn't do anything to hurt us tonight if we just made plays.

"Until we can get it fixed, we're going to give teams chances to beat us," Hummel said.

With two on and one out in the top of the seventh, Irmo's Cedric Jefferson executed a perfect suicide-squeeze bunt to bring home Bradford Eaves to give Irmo a 7-6 lead. Losing pitcher Andrew Hydrick escaped further damage by striking out David Gray with the bases loaded to end the threat.

"Any time we can get a region win, we'll take it," said Irmo coach Ron Canady. "Both sides made some errors and made some mistakes, (North Augusta) just made more than we did tonight.

"That's been story of our season, giving up one big inning and having to battle back," Canady said. "We've been close in all our games, now we just have to find players to execute in key situations."

Irmo (3-8, 2-2) starter Mac Kuhl spotted North Augusta (7-7, 3-1) a 4-0 lead after he gave up four runs, one hit and three walks during a rocky first inning. Kuhl settled down and allowed one more hit, a double to Jared Pennington in the fifth inning.

In the sixth inning, with two outs and a run in, Irmo pinch-hitter Danny Powell hit a single up the middle to put runners at first and second.

Harrison Croft and Kuhl hit back-to-back RBI singles before Matt Hogan hit a routine popup that third baseman Branigan Rosser dropped, allowing the tying runs to score and erasing North Augusta's lead.

North Augusta tied the game in the bottom of the inning on a Kuhl balk, but could not muster any offense against closer Zach Waterbury, who set North Augusta down in order to record the save.

"It's real discouraging to lose at home," Hummel said, "And this is going to be a real test to see what kind of kids we've got and to see if we can bounce back from this."

Reach Miguelangelo Hernandez at(706) 823-3304.