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Northwood Academy High School
North Charleston

Chargers baseball competing despite lack of depth

 

By David Shelton

Senior Writer

Summerville – With just a little added depth, Northwood Academy baseball coach Jay Christmas might have a team capable of making a decent run in the state playoffs.

As it stands, however, the Chargers are simply hoping to at least be a part of the postseason. Christmas has but 10 players on his varsity roster and the number might dwindle to nine by the time his team begins region play.

“No depth, just not enough bodies,” Christmas said as his team prepared for a three-game region series with First Baptist. “We find ourselves in a lot of games early but we cannot sustain anything. We get tired and we don’t have the bodies to put in there and finish games. The guys we have, several of them, compete very well. We have a handful of talented kids but we don’t have much of anything behind them.”

The Chargers went 3-4 in their first seven games, including a win over Woodland, a AA public school.

Northwood has a solid number one starting pitcher in junior Devin Vaughan, who also hits fourth in the lineup.

“He’s a good pitcher and he competes well,” Christmas said. “He’s a low 80’s guy with a good curveball. He’s one of our better hitters and he plays a good centerfield.”

The team’s lone senior is left-handed pitcher TJ McKenzie, who occupies the number two starting role on the bump.

Junior Wyatt Fulton, a transfer from Ashley Ridge, is a quality third starter and handles the duties at shortstop. Another key performer is junior catcher Ben O’Brien, who transferred from Stratford.

“Ben is a really solid catcher and has been a good hitter in the three hole for us,” Christmas said.

Junior Sullivan Watkins is a veteran at first base, though he is playing through the season with a partially torn ACL that will require surgery later this spring.

 Sheldon Watkins, a sophomore, is also pitching while starting in the outfield.

“Our pitching has been good enough, throwing strikes pretty regularly,” Christmas said. “We are not very sound defensively, even though we work hard everyday on making routine plays. If we could improve defensively, I could see us being very competitive. When our first four or five are hitting, we are capable of scoring some runs. We have to improve defensively.”

Northwood’s other region series, after First Baptist, are three-game sets with Pinewood Prep and Porter-Gaud.

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