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Hub City’s Aucoin hangs shutout loss on Bandits

Hub City pitcher Alex Aucoin handcuffed the Brookhaven BanditsThursday night, tossing a 2-hit shutout on Brookhaven Academy’smuddy baseball diamond as the Wheels prevailed 1-0 in the CottonState League contest. Aucoin, a wiry southpaw, struck out 5 battersand walked 2 in the 7-inning contest.

In a season of steady rainouts, the Bandits travel toHattiesburg tonight to play the Wheels on the William Carey Collegediamond, starting at 6 p.m. Brookhaven entertains the Capital CityRangers for a Sunday doubleheader, starting at 1:30 p.m.

Brookhaven (3-7), held scoreless for the last 28 innings, onlyhad a pair of singles to show for its offense. Catcher JimmyPotucek singled in the third and shortstop Patrick Williams singledin the sixth. The Bandits were shut out in a Tuesday doubleheaderat Poplarville, falling 6-0 and 2-0 to the Rivercats.

Williams, who hit a hard liner off Hub City third baseman EricAdkins and then beat the throw to first base, advanced to third ona sacrifice by Michael Clements and a stolen base. But the Banditswere unable to score. The Wheels, with just 10 players on hand forthe game, didn’t commit an error.

Hub City field manager Bobby Halford is the head coach atWilliam Carey College and several of the Wheels wore Crusaderuniforms during the school year. Halford, 17 years at WCC, has beenhead coach for the last eight, producing several outstandingsquads.

“I have several of my players on the team plus some other goodones,” said Halford. He was a member of the semi pro Hub Wheels inhis younger years.

“The Cotton State League is good and it’s getting better,” saidHalford. “What it really needs is more sponsors. It’s tough on theplayers because a lot of them have to work during the day. Youreally have to love to play baseball.

“Some of my players worked until 5 o’clock and they couldn’t gethere in time (a 6 p.m. start) for the game,” Halford noted. “Two ofthem are roofers in Jackson.”

Colby Beach, a Franklin County product and a freshman at Co-Linthis fall, produced a strong pitching performance in his secondstart of the season. In 5 innings, Beach gave up 1 run on 3 hits,striking out 6 and walking 1.

Beach was replaced by Robert Young in the top of the sixth.Young, a Southwest Mississippi Community College product, struckout 2 batters, walked 1 and allowed 1 hit.

John Birdsong replaced Young in the seventh. He gave up 1 hit, 1walk and fanned 1.

Brookhaven field manager Pete Young said he was satisfied withthe overall pitching performance. “For the most part our pitchinghas been pretty good and that gave us a chance to win.

“I thought Colby and Robert and Birdie did a real good jobtonight. Colby had pretty good control of the strike zone. He hadgood movement on the fastball.”

Young said the Bandits don’t face many left-handed pitchers.”Aucoin was pretty sharp. We don’t see many southpaws and we werefacing a pretty good lefty.”

When asked about Brookhaven’s scoring slump, Young said, “We arenot aggressive at the plate. We are taking a lot of first-strikefastballs which puts us behind in the count. We must be moreaggressive at the plate.”

The Wheels (7-4) scored their only run in the top of the firstframe. Leadoff batter Alex Alexander singled and later scored on asingle by Eric Adkins.