Packed inside a full private-school schedule, the Augusta Christian Schools baseball team is playing a pair of public-school teams in a home-and-away series this year.
After playing two of four games against Strom Thurmond and North Augusta high schools, the Lions stand at 1-1 when facing public schools, with a 14-3 win at Strom Thurmond and a 15-9 loss playing host to North Augusta Thursday.
"We're trying to make a statement with these games," Augusta Christian's Trey Crabill said. "We know we've got the talent, and we're not afraid to play teams that are supposed to beat us."
Against Strom Thurmond, the Lions showed their strength with a 14-3 pounding that included home runs from Josh Whitaker and Josh Sizemore. On the mound, Sizemore picked up a complete game win in five innings of work with 11 strikeouts.
"We got real good pitching from Josh Sizemore. They didn't get their first hit until the fourth inning," Augusta Christian coach Craig Johnson said. "When we give our best effort, we're a good ball club."
Three days later, the Lions returned home to face a North Augusta squad that entered the game with a 9-2 record. The Yellow Jackets led 3-1 after four innings, then scored 10 runs in the top of the fifth inning. Augusta Christian quickly answered with eight runs in the bottom half of the fifth, but the rally wasn't enough. The Lions picked up their first loss of the year.
"It's a situation where if you can play ball clubs of this caliber and hang with them, it's only going to make us better," Johnson said.
The preparation paid off Saturday when the Lions returned to private school play against region rival Heathwood Hall. Augusta Christian won the game with a 14-1 advantage and catcher Taylor Hensley leading the way.
Hensley batted three-for-four with five RBI to give the Lions their first region win of the season.
The Lions (2-1) will play host to Heathwood Hall at 4 p.m. Friday.
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