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Local players take center stage during CSRA Crusaders game at Lake Olmstead Stadium in Augusta

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- Three area home-school baseball players - Kevin Davidson, along with Sam and Alex Jacobs - got their chance to play at a Minor League Baseball stadium in Augusta last week.

Davidson, who lives in Thomson and the Jacobs' brothers, who reside outside Warrenton, all play with the CSRA Crusaders Junior Varsity team, whose home ballpark is at Masters City in South Augusta. The Crusaders defeated the Augusta Christian Lions 6-4 at Lake Olmstead Stadium - home of the Augusta Greenjackets.

Playing in the state-of-the-art stadium apparently didn't affect the Crusaders very much, according to one of the players.

"Once we stretched and warmed up and everything, it wasn't really a big deal," said Crusaders' first baseman Sam Jacobs. He also went 1-for-3 with a run scored in the game.

The Crusaders were aided by the fine relief pitching performance of Davidson, who garnered the win. Davidson allowed only two runs, one of which was unearned, on four hits in five innings. He came in to relieve starting pitcher Jacob Parrack in the third inning.

"It made me want to push myself harder, playing in that stadium," said Davidson, who is 3-0 as a pitcher this season.

The Crusaders, who had handed Augusta Christian their only other loss earlier this season, started the game with a bang in the first inning, as leadoff batter Daniel Pitts hit a triple on the second pitch he saw a distance of 366 feet off the left center field wall. He scored on second baseman Chandler Silas' infield hit. Silas later scored on shortstop Ethan Bulloch's single to center field. Bulloch also hit a pitch to the left field wall later in the game.

"Every one was making a big deal about how big the field was," said Crusaders' catcher Alex Jacobs. "But it's 400 feet -- the same as our field."

The Crusaders, now 13-4-1, collected 10 hits in the game. The leading hitters were Bulloch, who went 3-for-4 with 2 RBI, Silas 2-for-3 with a RBI and two runs scored and Caleb Murphy 2-for-4 with a RBI.

"They did better than expected considering the conditions, the field they were playing on and the team they were playing against," said Crusaders JV head Coach Robbie Silas. "I was in awe, just like the players out there. It felt like a different world out there."

The Crusaders field middle school, junior varsity and varsity baseball teams. The teams are made up of students who are home-schooled or attend private schools that have no baseball program.

The Jacobs' brothers -- home-schooled for about seven years - found out about the team through the Crusaders' website while searching for a baseball team in the area. Davidson, who has been home-schooled since first grade, found out about the team after the CSRA Crusaders' founder Todd Dickson formed a team in 2003.

The Crusaders' next game will be a double-header, Thursday, April 9, at Masters City against the Gwinnet Barons with the first game starting at 5 p.m.

Web posted on Thursday, April 09, 2009

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