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Paladins suffer first loss of season

The Furman team put its undefeated fall record on the line Sunday at East Riverside Park and lost.

But it was for a good cause. And thankfully, the sport was not rugby.

The Paladins turned in a part inspiring and part comical performance at the Eastside High School Spirit Week softball tournament, which raised $1,200 for the Emerson Rose Heart Foundation.

The squad completed the afternoon with a respectable 2-1 record despite horrendous at-plate performances from prop Jeff Tonge and hooker Lawson Held who went a combined 0-18.

“Jeff and Lawson obviously never had the benefit of baseball growing up,” said Skipper John Roberts. “Jeff wielded his bat like an ax and Lawson looked even more uncomfortable.”

Thankfully, solid play by Zach Roberts and Sammy Hobgood, who both played America’s pastime in high school, paced the Paladin’s offense. Though official records were not kept, Roberts accounted for most of the team’s runs and consistently belted the ball to the left-field fence.

Nick Rossano, Jacob Milchuck and assistant coach Darren Scott also had their moments at the plate. Zach Roberts and his father, Coach Roberts, anchored a fairly solid infield at shortstop and second base.

The team faced a squad composed mostly of Eastside High School baseball players in the first game. While the team was competitive and staged a mini-rally, the ruggers fell to the Eagles by a score of 12-5.

Next up, the team faced an adult recreation team that was determined to win. The squad, composed of two women and some older adults, pinch ran players, contested calls and seemed particularly keen to upset the upstart college players.

Their rambunctiousness was stoked when Assistant Coach Darren Scott, who is a robust 280 pounds, barreled over a female first basewoman while attempting an ill-advised bunt. The woman, who tragically failed to skirt the running lane, was pummeled by the clumsy coach.

Amends were made seconds later as the woman pulled herself up while Scott, a former professional rugby player from New Zealand, lay crippled on the dirt infield.

“My hip,” he cried. “My hip!”

Scott, who played the outfield without a glove, managed to salvage what was left of his manly reputation by recovering and returning to play. The Paladins broke open a close game late by winning 10-6.

In the final contest, the team faced the Eastside Student Government Team where it was hoped that Held and Tonge would collect their first hits. But it was a doomed dream. In ignominious fashion the front row duo struck out.

While the Paladins played woefully against a team that lacked a right fielder, the squad pulled out a 10-4 victory to cap the tournament and finished second out of four teams.

Last updated March 23, 2016
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Clinton Colmenares
News & Media Relations Director