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Knights done in by six errors in 8-5 loss to Vols

Posted: March 6, 2013 3:09 p.m.
Updated: March 8, 2013 5:00 a.m.

One of the victims of the recent spate of unseasonable weather (i.e., rain and snow) has been the fielders in baseball games.
There was no better evidence of that than in Kershaw on Tuesday nights as six North Central errors led to as many unearned runs as the visiting Knights fell to rival Andrew Jackson, 8-5, in a non-region game.
The loss was the first in the regular season for Robbie Cash’s squad which went 2-0-1 in the May Plant Credit Union Baseball Bash played in Boonetown last week.
“I don’t like to make excuses,” Cash said of his team’s troubles in the field on a cold and rainy night, “but a lot of our errors had to do with our having a lack of field time. With the bad weather, it has been hard for us to get out on the field to practice.
“We need to get back outside and work on our fundamentals.”
To that end, Cash said, half-jokingly, that he told his players not to bring their bats to Wednesday’s practice since the session would be devoted entirely to fielding.
AJ, the second-ranked AA team in the state, scored a pair of runs in the bottom of the first to jump to a 2-0 lead. NC cut that in half in the top of the second when J.P. Faulkenberry went deep for a solo home run to left.
After the Volunteers tacked on two more runs in the second to go on top, 4-1, the Knights scored one in the third when Broderick Gaither singled, stole second and came in on Grayson King’s RBI single. The hosts responded by scoring two more runs in their portion of the third to raise the lead to 6-2.
The Knights closed the gap by a run in the top of the fifth when Jay Williams got aboard with a single and later came home on a balk. Again, the Vols scored a pair in the fifth to pad their cushion at 8-3.
The visitors scored twice in their final at-bat of the evening with Gaither getting on with a single before trotting home on King’s two-run blast to left.
Gaither got the starting nod on the mound and worked the first three innings before Paul Blackwell came on in the fourth and threw three innings of relief. AJ sent Chandler Neal, last year’s Region 3-AA player of the year, to the mound and who picked up the win.
All eight NC hits on the night came from the first five batters in the order led by King’s three-hit, three RBI night. Faulkenberry and Gaither added two hits each while Tyler Bowers drew three walks. The six through nine batters, which entailed six players in the game, were a collective 0-for-13.
“We’re hitting the ball fine at the top of the order,” Cash said. “Grayson, Tyler and Broderick are all batting over .500. We just need to get the bottom half of our order going.”
Having faced the second-ranked AA team in the state on Tuesday, the Knights traveled to Lewisville on Thursday to take on the state’s top-ranked class A squad. Tonight, NC opens Region 3-AA play when Keenan comes to Boonetown for a 6 p.m. start.
Saturday, Cash and company will make the short trip to the Camden Military Academy to play the Spartans in a noon matinee.

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