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Southern alum returns as coach with visiting team, ends up dismissed as Patriots rally for victory

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Controversy erupts at SHS baseball game when ump ejects Eastern Randolph assistant coach which then results in dismissal of team’s head coach, as well

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

The feel-good vibes regarding Brent Haynes returning to Southern Alamance as a first-year head coach with the visiting team didn’t last all of Wednesday night.

By the end, Haynes wasn’t part of the baseball game, either.

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That was just part of the fallout from Southern’s 17-11 non-conference victory against Eastern Randolph.

The Patriots used a nine-run sixth inning to secure the result. Haynes, who’s in his first season with Eastern Randolph, was dismissed by the umpire after a sequence that turned out to help Southern pick up a couple of runs.

“It’s tough to come back here and get run,” Haynes said of his premature departure, using a baseball term for an ejection.

Eastern Randolph led 9-6 going to the bottom of the fourth. The Wildcats appeared to get out of the inning unscathed when Southern’s Nathan Teague was called out at third base on an attempt to steal a base.

But Southern coach Jason Smith asked the umpires to confer, and the base umpire’s ruling was overturned.

That enraged the Eastern Randolph coaching staff.

Matters became worse for the Wildcats, who had to return to the field from their dugout, when Braxton Cain’s at-bat was extended and he delivered a two-out, two-run single.

Prior to the top of the fifth, Eastern Randolph’s ongoing complaints drew a warning from the umpire, and then assistant coach Logan Beasley was ejected.

With that, based on high school rules, the head coach is also dismissed, so Haynes was gone as well.

“I hate that it went down like that,” said Smith, who was Haynes’ high school coach.

Afterward, Haynes remained perturbed with the changed call and a list of other gripes.

“There is no way a home plate umpire can overturn a stolen base,” Haynes said. “It was kind of embarrassing.”

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Haynes, a former Southern assistant coach, played on the Patriots’ 2005 state championship team. Several of his prep teammates attended the game.

“It was cool having them here,” Smith said.

Even without their coach, the Wildcats appeared capable of hanging in there. Eastern Randolph (1-8) stretched its lead to 10-8 in the sixth on Pierce Leonard’s bases-loaded walk.

Then the Patriots went to work in the bottom of the inning. Teague knocked in the next run with a single and Cain’s two-run single put Southern ahead. Eli Holland and Bradley Capps had RBI prior to Kris Young’s two-run single. Before the end of the frame, Teague provided another single, this one plating two more runs.

“Getting all those hits and having a lot of good energy,” Cain said.

Haynes had been on Southern’s recent coaching staffs, so the Patriots are familiar with him.

“He changed that team,” Cain said of the Wildcats, who’ve suffered five defeats by three or fewer runs.

Southern (5-4) racked up 15 hits. Kris Young went 4-for-5 with four runs batted in, Cain had three hits, Devin Brewer had a pair of run-producing doubles to drive in three runs, and Teague notched three hits.

Eastern Randolph’s Lucas Smith hit a two-run home run in the second inning. The Wildcats’ four third-inning runs and three fourth-inning runs all came with two outs.

The winning pitcher was Janden Evans, the third of Southern’s four pitchers.

“I’m happy that we hit,” Smith said. “If we make one or two more plays (in the field), we’d already be home.”

It was the only scheduled meeting of the season between the teams.

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