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POSTED: March 17, 2007 5:12 a.m.
After falling behind 8-0 at Benedictine after three innings, Bradwell Institute’s young baseball team rallied with seven runs in the fifth inning. However, the game was called in the bottom half of the inning because of darkness, sending Bradwell to an opening day 9-7 loss.
First-year Bradwell coach Rhett Hellgren was pleased with his team’s performance.
“The kids hung tough, kept their composure and came back,” he said. “They were real aggressive at the plate. I started a young team and they responded. They did real well in the clutch.”
Daniel Materne delivered a 3-run double in the fifth inning and Jeff Polk knocked in two runs the same inning with a single.
The Cadets took advantage of three Tiger errors and three walks from starting pitcher senior Nick Franks to score six runs in the first inning.
After the first inning, Franks settled down, found the strike zone and only surrendered two more runs.
The Tigers travel to Jesup today to play Wayne County at 6 p.m. The Tigers open the home season Saturday at noon against Savannah Christian.
“We are going to be okay. I’m real happy with our effort so far,” Hellgren said. “We will play these non-region games and see what we have. I’m really looking forward to this weekend. We are playing two really good teams in Wayne County and Savannah Christian and I look forward to seeing how our kids respond. In today’s society, I don’t think our kids respond to adversity very well and we’re having to respond to a lot of adversity here.”
Hellgren likes the team’s enthusiasm and hustle. All 34 players who came to the first day of practice are either on the varsity or junior varsity team and Hellgren said they would be competitive in Region 3-AAAAA.
“I’m not worried about wins and losses. Right now, I’m worried about having the kids know what to do in every situation,” he said. “We are going to get there but it takes a while.”
Another obstacle the team must overcome is only having two weeks to prepare for the season. The Georgia High School Association used to allow teams three weeks of practice but this season limited it to two weeks.
“It’s ridiculous, especially with the pitching,” Hellgren said. “We can only work with two guys and it’s just real hard.”
Nevertheless, Hellgren said his Tigers would be a fundamentally sound baseball team and consistently work on the basics in practice.
 

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