High school sluggers have tough time at Jackets' park

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Video highlights from the High School Home Run Derby held at Lake Olmstead Stadium.

Lake Olmstead Stadium has a reputation for being one of the most difficult stadiums in the South Atlantic League to hit a home run.

The Augusta GreenJackets' home stadium annually ranks as a pitcher-friendly ballpark compared with others in the 16-team league.

On Saturday, several local high school hitters experienced Lake Olmstead Stadium's wrath firsthand.

The GreenJackets played host to the Hometown Hitters Home Run Derby as a qualifier event to send one local high school baseball player to the South Atlantic League All-Star Game high school home run derby in June.

Nineteen high school baseball players from seven area high schools took part in the competition. Only eight home runs were hit in the entire event.

"Really, it's about what we expected," GreenJackets general manager Nick Brown said.

"We know it's a tough ballpark to hit home runs out of. That's why we put the points system in place."

Hitters were credited with points for hitting balls to the warning track and off the wall. In the end, Cross Creek High School's Bryson Crouch won the home run derby. Crouch hit five of the day's eight home runs.

"I've been to GreenJackets games, and I've never seen anyone hit a home run here," Crouch said. "It's 400 (feet) out there with a 20-foot fence. It's not easy."

Crouch, who hit five homers in 22 games for Cross Creek this season, outlasted Laney's LaTron Hunter after the two had to go to extra rounds.

The 6-foot-4, 220-pound junior will represent Augusta in the SAL's high school home run derby in Charleston, W.Va., next month.

"He's a hitter," Cross Creek coach Tavis Cummings said. "When I send in questionnaires to other coaches, I always tell them he's got more raw power than any other kid."

Crouch won airfare and hotel accommodations for two to next month's festivities.

He also received a GreenJackets jersey and will be recognized at a future game at Lake Olmstead Stadium, where he will throw out the ceremonial first pitch.

ANOTHER SET BACK : Former North Augusta and Clemson star Tyler Colvin was injured last weekend in an on-field collision with a Daytona Cubs teammate and has been placed on the disabled list.

Colvin, a star at the Double-A level last season, started this year at the Advanced-A level so he could serve as a designated hitter while recovering from off-season Tommy John surgery.

Colvin suffered a concussion and a bruised hip after colliding with a teammate going for a fly ball on May 9.

Colvin and Tony Campana were taken off the field in stretchers and hospitalized.

MOVING UP : Portal High School product Brooks Brown was promoted Thursday from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo.

The starting pitcher went 5-0 with a 2.21 ERA in six starts with Erie.


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