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Thomas Jefferson gives First Presbyterian the bat
Rickey Gilliard gives the Jaguar catcher a face full of dirt as he slides safely into home Thursday afternoon. Despite a late rally the Highlanders could not stop the Thomas Jefferson Jaguars. - photo by By Patty Leon / Coastal Courier
The First Presbyterian Christian Academy baseball team suffered a tough loss (16-6) at the hands of Thomas Jefferson Thursday afternoon.
It was the Highlanders home-opener at Liberty Field.
The TJ Jaguars brought their heavy hitters out early and scored 7 runs by the second inning.
Infield and outfield errors by the highlanders allowed the Jaguars to add six more runs by the fourth inning and the Highlanders found themselves down by 10 (13-3).
The Highlanders' Rickey Gilliard had a standout game stealing second base and twice stealing third. He made several play-saving catches and started a 3-run rally in the fifth inning. Garrett Thornton and Kyle Hagler brought in the other two runs, making it an 8-point game with the Highlanders trailing 14-6.
The Jaguars started the sixth innings with two base hits and a walk to load the bases. After another walk and an error the Jaguars added two more runs to seal the Highlanders fate 16-6.
Kyle Hagler started on the mound for the Highlanders for the first 4 innings with Matthew Brown finishing the game.
The loss didn't diminish the Highlanders' spirit. Coach Joey Brown knows he has a young team and early losses are bound to happen.
"We carry a lot of sixth graders and we have a real young ball team," Brown said. "Our goal is to get better before the playoffs start. As long as we can see improvement and peak in the last half of the season we are fine."
Brown said because they are a young team they will have to work that much harder to get better. But, he said he saw a lot of good things on the field.
The Highlander baseball team is only two seasons old but even Jaguar coach Glenn Rocker commented on the team's improvement, saying they have really developed a stronger hitting squad and infield since last year.
Brown said there is an area that lacks some depth.
"Pitching is something we will have to cultivate and work on," he said. " We worked hard this week on our pitching and our hitting. We spent a lot of time in the cage."
The Highlanders were scheduled for a double-header at Douglas against Citizen's Christian Saturday. Brown said the double-header would give them an indication of where they are.
"It's a learning experience for us and we are going to get better," he said.

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