Area Sports...

 April 5, 2000

Final Games To Feature Tough Foes
Commerce will face three tough opponents in its final five games of the season.
After facing the number one team in Class A Wednesday in Greater Atlanta Christian, the Tigers will face two region teams in the fight for a playoff spot.
Banks County (16-3) is in the hunt for one of Region 8-A North's two playoff berths.
Next Thursday, Commerce will travel to Buford, who controls its own destiny for the second spot in 8-A South.
Commerce picked up a subregion win last Friday with a seventh-inning 12-11 win over Providence.
Jefferson bested Commerce last Wednesday 14-4.
Riverside will come to Commerce Friday for another subregion game.
"We got some tough games coming up with GAC and Banks," coach David Cash said. "Hopefully we can build on the win over Providence. We're still trying to find some pitching. We're trying to get a lot of people playing time at different positions.
The game with Banks County has been hounded by the rain. Orginally scheduled for March 29, the game was moved to Tuesday. More wet weather pushed the game to Thursday.
A thumb injury may claim the rest of the season for senior infielder Wes Smith.
"By the time he's able to play again, we'll probably be at the end of the season," Cash said.
Dane Cotrell hit two grand slams and scored the winning run for the Tigers over Providence. Cottrell walked to lead off the seventh. A hit by Brody Bearden and a Providence error allowed Cotrell to score.
Charlie Epps had three hits. Cottrell drove in eight and scored three.
Matt Owensby came on in relief in the bottom of the sixth, recording two strikeouts. He picked up the win.
The Dragons exploded for a 14-4 win over rival Commerce. Corey Hill went the distance, allowing only two earned runs on six hits through five innings.

CHS Tennis Team To Face Wesleyan
Commerce's tennis team will wrap up the the regular season with a home match next Tuesday agaisnst Wesleyan.
Heather Stockton, Janna Morris, Aaron Talbot and John Harrison will also represent the team April 13-14 at the Region 8-A singles tournament at Lakeview.
The teams were swept in their matches last week against Providence and Franklin County.

Realignment Slims Region
8-A To Return 10 Schools; Only Four Play Football
Commerce will play three region football games next season after the realignment by the Georgia High School Association.
Commerce will remain in Region 8-A with football schools Jefferson, Buford and Wesleyan. Towns County had been classified in Class A, but opted to move up to Region 8-AA with its neighboring counties Union and White.
Brenau, Lakeview, Providence, Rabun Gap, Tallulah Falls, and Woody Gap are also in the region, but do not play football.
All four of the 8-A football schools will advance to the state playoffs.
The new alignment has Commerce playing seven non-region games. Contracts for football games can be signed after the GHSA executive committee approves the region alignment at its meeting April 17-18.
Commerce coach Steve Savage mentioned Franklin County, Athens Academy, Morgan County, Gainesville, Lincoln County and Forsyth Central as possible opponents to fill out the schedule. Commerce will not play area teams Banks County and Madison County.
Eight of the 10 schools have played competitive schedules in other sports like basketball and baseball. Commerce baseball coach David Cash said it was likely that the teams would play a region schedule next year.
The suspense has been taken out of the football season for several Class A football teams.
Two other regions in Class A will have four teams. Each region will still send four teams to the state playoffs. Regions 1-A and 5-A will also have four teams.
Regions 2-A, 3-A and 7-A each share the most football-playing schools with eight teams apiece.
The 75 schools in Class A are divided, with 41 in the north and 34 in the south.
In football, a total of 47 teams play football - 21 in the north and 26 in the south. With 32 teams advancing to the state football playoffs, only 15 Class A schools will miss the postseason.
The rest of the current Region 8-A teams will be moving up to Class AA next year.
Banks County, Dawson County, Greater Atlanta Christian, Rabun County, Riverside Military Academy, Towns County and Union County make up most of the new Region 8-AA. They will be joined by East Hall, Lumpkin County, White County and the new Barrow County school, Apalachee.
Madison County will remain in Region 8-AAA next year. They have been grouped with Eastside, Elbert County, Franklin County, Hart County, Loganville, Monroe Area, Stephens County, Winder-Barrow and Jackson County.
Jackson County has petitioned the GHSA to move to Region 7-AA. That would place them in a group with schools in Hall County and Forsyth
Please Turn To Page 2B

Snipes signs with Emmanuel
BCHS star will make switch to college fast-pitch
A four-year starter at shortstop with a .503 career batting average.
That's not even a complete sentence, but it might just say all that needs to be said about Banks County's Michelle Snipes.
Add in her help in guiding the Leopards to consecutive postseason berths in her junior and senior seasons, and it is little wonder that she will get a chance to keep playing softball in college.
Snipes signed the first softball scholarship from Banks County High School last week to play for Emmanuel College in Franklin Springs. Snipes' four-year totals at BCHS easily allured college interest.
She finished her career with a .503 batting average, 32 home runs, 131 RBIs and 124 runs scored. She added 31 doubles and 26 triples.
Her junior year, the Leopards finished second in the region. They went on to win one of the four state-qualifying spots at the sectional tournament for the first time since 1992.
This year, the team advanced to the region tournament, finishing fourth.
The only question on her slow-pitch high school resume was whether she can switch to the fast-pitch world of college softball.
Her workout with the Emmanuel team this spring answered that pretty easily.
"She saw 12 pitches and had seven hits," Banks County softball coach Mike Gordon said. "I showed her how to adjust her swing to hit fast-pitch before she went down there. I couldn't believe that she learned it so quickly."
The other side of the ball was never a question.
"She was my starting shortstop for four years. I know she can play defense," Gordon said. "A lot of colleges have said they like to get their middle infielders from slow-pitch because they know they have the experience fielding the ball."
Snipes was also recruited by LaGrange College, but opted for Emmanuel. But less travel time to home games is no complaint for her biggest fans.
"We're excited about it," said her mother Vicki Snipes. "We're glad she has the opportunity to go further."
While her athletic road will continue, she has not forgotten the ones that have helped her be successful.
"When I look back, I really benefited from being in (former Banks County) coach Warren Standridge's weight class," Snipes said. "He helped me through a sports injury when I was a freshman. He showed me how to focus on getting stronger and fit. He spent extra time with me, that allowed me to step up my play."
Adding strength to her arsenal, she included experience by playing on the traveling team, the CATS. Her traveling coach also caught on to the potential Snipes possesses.
"She has the ability to play anywhere," CATS coach Bob Roller said. "She's got good upper body strength and excellent speed. She's a smart player. She can make the transition from slow-pitch to fast-pitch with no problem because she's an athlete. That's why she got attention from colleges - because she's an athlete."
While on the CATS team, Snipes played on the squad that won the state ASA championship and advanced to the national tournament. The team finished with a 41-9 record that year.
"We would start practicing (for the CATS) in late February," Snipes said. "Then we would play in tournament all around until August."
That schedule took her back into the high school season, which ran into October, allowing her to play eight months out of the year. All the pieces came together with her earning best offensive player honors as a sophomore and junior, as well as co-Miss Softball honors her senior year.

Downing Union breaks up subregion lead
Leopards play in Blairsville Thurs.
Banks County High School's baseball team controls its own postseason destiny to a point.
Dawson County, Union County and Banks County are all in position to claim one of the two playoff spots. Banks County will play Union County Friday in Blairsville.
If Banks County wins that game, it will be tied with Dawson County for first place. Under Region 8-A rules, if two teams finish tied for the top two spots, a coin flip determines the seeding.
If three teams are tied for the top two spots, a coin flip gives one team a berth, while the other two play for the other.
If the Leopards lose Friday, they would need help from other teams against the other two leading teams.
Banks County's game with Lakeview, which was to have been played this Wednesday, has been postponed.
Banks County will get a chance to finish its season series this Thursday with Commerce. The Leopards took the win in the teams' first meeting last month in Homer.
The second game was scheduled for March 29, but was rescheduled to Tuesday due to rain. However, more rain earlier in the week scratched Tuesday's matchup. The game is scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Thursday.
Weather has not cooperated with Banks County-Commerce games this year.
The first baseball meeting this year was played on a wet field after a downpour earlier that day.
Both regular season basketball matchups this year between the two rivals were also canceled due to winter weather.
Banks County split its season series with Dawson County last week, dropping a 6-4 loss to the Tigers.
Dawson County scored first and never trailed. Banks County scored one run in the fourth inning to tie the game at 4-4. But the Tigers scored one in the sixth and one on the seventh to take the win.
Joseph Whitlock started the game on the mound. Justin Smith finished out in relief for the Leopards. Clint Angel hit a home run to lead the Banks County offense.

BCHS winter sports athletes honored
The All-Sports Booster Club recognized Banks County High School's winter sports athletes.
In girls' basketball, Bree Whitlock won Miss Basketball honors, scoring 327 points, 115 assists and 152 rebounds.
Michelle Snipes won the Miss Offense award. Brittany Holcomb took Miss Defense honors. Haley Crumley was best All-Around. Laura Carlyle was named Most Improved.
Victor Bonds set a school record last season for the boys' basketball team with 44 blocked shots.
Richard Howard was named the wrestling team captain and Most Valuable Wrestler.
He also received the paw for most pins in the season with eight. Howard was fourth in the area tournament
Kevin Hall took the William Stevens Memorial Hustle Award.
Yoric Erb-Summers was the Most Improved wrestler.
Oscar Bonds won the Appreciation Award. Justin Bonds was the Outstanding Freshman.
J. Bonds, Erb-Summers, Daniel Vickery, Clint Jacks, Howard and Kevin Hall received letters.
Yvettte Wiley won the Most Spirited Award for the cheerleading squad.
The Booster Club helps to pay for uniforms, equipment and entrance fees.
The meetings are held on the first Monday night of the month at 6:30 p.m. in the high school cafeteria.
The booster club also set the spring awards ceremony for Tuesday, May 9 at 7:30 p.m.

Diamond Dragons win ­ then lose ­ upper hand in region
The past week was an up-and-down one for the Jefferson baseball team, literally. Earlier in the week, the Dragons moved into sole posession of second place in subregion 8-A south after Providence surprised the Buford Wolves, 5-2. A loss to Wesleyan Friday dropped Jefferson back into a tie with the Wolves. The top two teams from the subregion qualify for postseason play.
Jefferson has a full slate of games this week, beginning with non-region Johnson Thursday. From there, the must-win phase of the season begins, as Buford hosts the Dragons Friday and Providence comes calling Saturday. Jefferson will play at Riverside Monday, and a visit from Greater Atlanta Christian will close out the regular season next Thursday.
"We didn't do too well against Wesleyan," said head coach Chuck Cook. "I guess we went on spring break a couple of hours early." Christopher Wheaton started on the mound, going five innings and giving up no runs on four hits. Kyle Potts gave up one earned run in relief in the 2-1 eight-inning loss.
After five innings, Jefferson led 1-0, and the two teams had combined for only seven hits. The Wolves picked up an unearned run to tie in the sixth, and loaded the bases with no outs in the eighth.
The Dragon defense registered two outs before Potts got ahead 2-2 in the count. Potts threw two pitches that seemed to be on the mark. Both were called balls, and Wesleyan picked up the win on an eighth-inning, bases-loaded walk.
"We were kind of in the driver's seat to be in the playoffs," Cook said. "We still have every opportunity in the world to be there, but now we've got to do it ourselves." If Jefferson can win against Buford, Providence and Wesleyan this week, and Buford fails to upset GAC, the Dragons and Wolves will likely meet in a one-game playoff to determine which team moves on to the postseason.
Earlier last week, the Dragons exploded for a 14-4 win over rival Commerce. Corey Hill went the distance, allowing only two earned runs on six hits through five innings. Josh Nabors, Clint Bryson and Shane Wilburn led at the plate with three hits each, and Hill and Ryan Gurley each belted home runs. Potts, Jeremy Love and Jon Veldhuis all hit safely for Jefferson.

JHS glides over Spartans
Varsity track teams from Jefferson blasted Athens Academy last week. The boys' team racked up a 102-28 decision, while the girls toasted the Lady Spartans, 86-39.
Up next for the Dragons is a home meet next Wednesday against Commerce and Oglethorpe County. The Jefferson Relays are scheduled for next Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m.
Coach James Pinion's boys took first place in 16 of 17 events. Top finishers for the team were: Roderick Young (long jump, 100 meters), Todd Freeman (pole vault), Steve Green (high jump, triple jump), Kevin Kelly (1600 meters), Jacob Cole (200 meters, 400 meters), John Mason (110-meter hurdles) and Chris Gooch (300-meter hurdles).
The 1600-meter relay team of Gooch, Cole, Young and Hunter Garner also took first place, as did the number two 400-meter relay team (Gooch, Cole, Green, Blake Gooch).
Jason Martin, who earned a new personal best in the shot put last week, did the same this week in the discus, with a first-place throw of 123 feet, four inches. Martin also finished second with the shot.
David Boring set a new personal record with his winning time of 2:06.84 in the 800 meters.
Brian Cole reached a personal best with his second-place finish in the 1600 meters. Cole crossed the line just 0.3 seconds behind Kelly. Nathan Briscoe also put up a new personal mark in the discus throw, at 101' 9".
Winning events for the Lady Dragons were: Molly Cleveland (long jump, triple jump), Heather Green (high jump), Stacey Anderson (100 meters, 200 meters) and Audrey Johnson (100-meter hurdles, 300-meter hurdles). Green, Johnson, Emily Tompkins and Michelle Boring combined to win the 1600-meter relay, as did Boring, Green, Anderson and Robin Roper in the 400-meter relay.

Birdette leads Panthers in win
With their season nearing its midpoint, the Jackson County track teams continue to look stronger and faster with each week. The Panthers will next face Dacula and Dawson County Tuesday, and Madison County, Oconee County and Stephens County next Thursday.
Last week, Tim Birdette led the boys' team to a tri-meet win against Stephens County and Madison County. The Panthers scored 80 points, followed by Stephens with 56.5 and Madison at 33.5
Birdette took top honors in three events: long jump (20' 4"), 400 meters (0:53.57) and 200 meters (0:23.7). Casey Berryman had the long shot put, at 40 feet, five inches. Chuck Kubiak continued to throw the discus well, taking first at 129' 6.5". John Hardie grabbed the top spot in the pole vault, with a vault of 10 feet, one-half inch. Adam Hughes took first in the 800 meters, finishing in two minutes, 18 seconds, and Kelly Parr crossed the line first in the 3200 meters, with a time of 11:14. The 1600-meter relay team of Hughes, Justin Lott, William Butler and Chris Kubiak finished ahead of the pack in that event.
Carly Parr finished first in the 3200 meters (12:51) and 800 meters (2:31). Sara Freeland was first in the 1600 meters, and Carla Rainwater first in the 100-meter hurdles (0:18.47) for the Lady Panthers, who finished second behind Stephens County.
Berryman was also fourth in the discus throw, while Chuck Kubiak finished second in the shot put. Chris Kubiak was third in the long jump and second in the 300-meter hurdles, and Carly Parr took third in the girls' high jump. Hardie finished fourth in the 300-meter hurdles and third in the 110 meter hurdles, and Hughes was third in the triple jump.
Other placers for the boys were: Kip Puckett, second, discus and fourth, shot; Travis Parks, second, high jump; Kelly Parr, second, 1600 meters; Anthony White, fourth, 1600 meters and third, 800 meters; Roger Pilgrim, fourth, 100 meters; Lott, second, 110 hurdles; and Butler, fourth, 3200 meters.
Melissa Lerette finished second in the discus throw, only 1.5 inches out of first place. Among those placing for the girls were: Lacey Phillips, second, long jump and 400 meters; Crystal Yonce, second, high jump and fourth, 400 meters; Carrie Yonce, third, 400 meters; Freeland, third, 800 meters; Nikki DuBose, second, 300-meter hurdles; and Rainwater, fourth, 300-meter hurdles.

Panthers at top of region
C.J. Weaver led the Jackson County boys' tennis team to a 3-2 win Thursday over Madison County. The win places the Panthers in a three-way tie for first place in their region, with the Red Raiders and West Hall. Jackson County's previously postponed match against Jefferson has been rescheduled for April 12. The team is off for spring break this week.
"C.J. played a tremendous mental match," said Panther head coach Jimmy Williams of Weaver's win. "He didn't get shaken up, even though the other guy beat him last year." Weaver rallied to win the number-one singles match 4-6/6-3/6-3.
Stephen Rosser, whom Williams says is always very businesslike in his play, won an easy 6-2/6-0 decision in the second singles slot. Will Koontz and Tommy Siphavong finished the scoring for Jackson County, with a 4-6/6-3/6-3 doubles win.

Jackson County to petition for move to 7-AAA
Jackson County Comprehensive High School athletic director and head football coach Greg Lowe said this week that he will file an official request with the Georgia High School Association to move Jackson County from region 8-AAA and into region 7-AAA. The presentation is scheduled for Tuesday. Lowe said a ruling will likely come the same day.
"I think Jackson County has a longer history with some of the teams in region 7-AAA than with those in 8-AAA," Lowe said, speaking at an athletic event late last week. "The driving distance would be about the same."
Under the GHSA's tentative alignment, region 7-AAA consists of eight teams, while there are 10 in region 8-AAA. If Jackson County's request is granted, there will be nine schools in each region.
The GHSA's initial region 7-AAA is made up of Fannin County, Forsyth Central, Gainesville, Gilmer County, Johnson, North Forsyth, Pickens County and South Forsyth.
Jackson County, Eastside, Elbert County, Franklin County, Hart County, Stephens County, Madison County, Monroe Area, Winder-Barrow and Loganville make up region 8-AAA.
Regions will be finalized during a meeting of the GHSA Executive Committe April 17 and 18, and coaches must submit completed football schedules by May 1.

Raiders beat Brookwood, Central Gwinnett
MCHS now 14-6 on season

The Madison County Red Raiders downed Central Gwinnett in a pitcher's duel and Brookwood in a slugfest this past week to improve to 14-6 on the season.
The Raiders will face North Gwinnett Thursday in a game postponed twice this week due to bad weather. The squads will hit the field at 5:30 p.m. in Suwanee. Madison County will then take on Habersham Central at home Friday at 6 p.m., before traveling to Jackson County Monday at 5:55 p.m.
Raider coach Charlie Griffeth said his team played better this past week.
"We're hitting better," said Griffeth, whose team is a game behind sub-region leader Stephens County. "And we're doing some of the little things right."

With the use of a nine-run third inning outburst, Madison County nabbed their 14th win of the year at home Saturday, topping Brookwood in an 11-8 slugfest.
After Brookwood grabbed a 2-0 edge with RBI singles in the first and second innings, Madison County erupted in the third inning, bringing 13 hitters to the plate, getting the nine runs on six hits.
The Raiders loaded the bases in the beginning of the third inning with back-to-back singles from Nick Mattox and Bo Williamson and a walk to Kurt Cooper. Madison County then picked up their first run of the game as Andy Coile walked to force in a run followed by Gillespie who then tied the game at two with an RBI single to left field. With the bases still full, the Raiders got their third run of the contest after Jeremie Strickland was hit by a pitch and then made the contest 4-2 after Jamaris Mattox picked up a bunt hit on a suicide squeeze. Chad Youngblood then walked to force in another run, making it 5-2 and Nick Mattox laid down yet another Raider bunt hit to bring home Strickland from third. Madison County then took a six-run edge as Williamson ripped a double to left field to score two more runs. The squad picked up their ninth run as N. Mattox came home on a balk.
Brookwood cut into Madison County's seven-run lead in the fourth as they got a two-run shot from Mike Royal followed by Robert Collier, who tagged a solo homer to left field, making the score 9-5.
Brookwood then worked the lead down to three runs as they used the long ball again in the fifth inning with Daniel South going deep to left field, making the score 9-6.
Madison County answered with a homer of their own in the bottom half of the inning as Daniel Smith tattooed a shot to left field. With Joseph Hardigree on first and Cooper on second, Smith had seemingly given the Raiders a 12-6 edge with the blast.
However, Hardigree apparently missed home plate as he came in, nullifying the last two runs, giving the Raiders only a 10-6 lead.
The ball continued to fly out of the ball park in the sixth inning as Joel Fincher smacked a solo shot to left field, cutting the lead to three runs.
Madison County picked up an insurance run in the bottom of the sixth as Strickland led the inning off with a double off the top of the center field fence, went to third on a wild pitch and then came home off a sacrifice fly by J. Mattox.
Brookwood added a final run in the seventh as Kevin Buldger came home from third on a Raider error.
Starter Dustin Dinsmore had a shaky day but picked up the win nevertheless, working three and two-thirds innings, surrendering seven hits, five runs - four earned - and one walk, while striking out two.
Williamson worked the rest of the way, pitching three and a third innings, giving up three runs - two earned - four hits and a walk.

The conditions may have been wet and cold last Wednesday, but the pitchers were red hot.
Madison County's 2-1 win over Central Gwinnett in Danielsville featured stellar pitching performances from the Raiders' Scott Tolbert and the Black Knights' southpaw Mickey Westphal.
The two pitchers baffled batters for most of the evening, allowing just four hits and six walks and two hit batters, while striking out 21 between them. Tolbert allowed two hits, three walks and a hit batter, while fanning 10 in seven innings - including five straight strikeouts to end the game. Westphal gave up two hits, three walks and a hit batter, while striking out 11 in six innings.
Tolbert allowed just one hit in the first five innings, but Central Gwinnett got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run on a one-out sixth inning single. The Black Knights threatened to take a bigger lead that inning, loading the bases with an intentional walk, but Tolbert fanned the next two batters to get out of the jam.
Westphal carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the sixth. But with one on and one out, Kurt Cooper broke up the no-hit bid, smashing a hard single to right field. Cooper and Nick Mattox, who was hit by a pitch, stood on second and third as catcher Andy Coile ripped a double into right centerfield to score both runners and give the Raiders a 2-1 edge.
Tolbert finished off the game, blazing fastballs by three straight batters in the top of the seventh.

MCHS boys' soccer squad blasts by Stephens 6-0
Paced by another outstanding performance from senior star Manny Trujillo, the Madison County Raiders trounced Stephens County 6-0 Friday night on the road.
Trujillo scored four goals and had an assist.
"He (Trujillo) was really on Friday night," said Raider coach Sam Rafal. "He did a nice job distributing the ball when the opportunity was elsewhere and going for the the goal when that was the best option."
Also getting in on the scoring action were Donnie Hatcher and Tim Costyn, who each had a goal and an assist. Gabe Zorbanos, Brandall Casstevens and Alan Alvarez each had an assist.
The Raiders, who led 3-0 at the half, played a solid game against a Stephens County squad that was much improved, said Rafal, whose team scored goals in clusters near the end of both halves.
"It was a very physical game, but we didn't let that take us out of our game," said Rafal. "We had great intensity in the defensive third. We won the midfield and were able to put passes together in the attacking third and finish our runs with shots on goal - all of the things you like to see."
Rafal praised the play of a number of players in Friday night's win. He noted that goalie Joe Zorbanos "kept (Stephens) from getting back into the game early in the second half." Rafal said David Harrison showed "strong leadership at sweeper." Freshman Joseph Jones held Stephens County's most potent offensive threat in check.
"Our freshman (Jones) completely shut down a college-bound senior," said Rafal.
The coach said Tim Costyn was "strong on right wing," making some "nice runs" and "opening up the middle for Manny." Rafal said Alan Alvarez had "another very strong game up front."
"He did a nice job finding a balance between ball distribution, playmaking and dribbling," said Rafal.
The coach said Hatcher, who moved from stopper to right center midfielder, has "made us a two-way threat by improving our attack and recovering on defense."
"He (Hatcher) is the prototypical midfielder," said Rafal.
Raider Levi Dykes, who suffered a severely busted lip Friday, requiring about 10 stitches, is also playing well, according to the coach.
"He continues to win ball and he is really strong taking the ball out of the air in midfield," said Rafal, who added that this year's senior class is as strong as any ever at Madison County. "We may have five college- bound players before all is said and done."
The Raiders will play their final home game of the season Friday night at 7:15 p.m. The junior varsity squad, which tied Stephens County 2-2 Thursday, will take the field at 5:30 p.m. The Raiders will close out the season with two road games: a Tuesday matchup with Central Gwinnett at 6 p.m. and a Friday, April 14 game at Dacula at 7 p.m.
MainStreet Newspapers, Inc.
PO Box 908, 33 Lee Street, Jefferson, Georgia 30549
Telephone: (706) 367-5233 Fax: (706) 367-8056

® Copyright 2000 MainStreet Newspapers, Inc. All rights reserved.
Copyright / Terms / Privacy

Home / Job Market / Real Estate / Automotive / Classifieds
News from Jackson / News from Madison / News from Banks / Sports
Jackson Community / Banks Community / Madison Community

Archives / Advertising / Printing / History / Links / Search Site
Send a Letter / Subscribe / Place a Classified Ad / Online Rates