Doug Thurmond named state's top wrestling coach
In his first year at the helm, Jefferson
head wrestling coach Doug Thurmond was named Georgia's best by
Thurmond, who had previously led the Johnson Knights' wrestling
team before returning to his alma mater, was recently named Coach
of the Year by the National Wrestling Coaches' Association, according
to Dacula head coach and state NWCA representative Paul White.
Thurmond had been named the Southeast Regional Assistant Coach
of the Year in 2000, while assisting long-time Dragon coach Jack
The state honor qualifies Thurmond for consideration as the regional
head coach of the year, an award which will be presented at a
seal the deal in six
A four-run sixth inning against East Hall Monday helped the Leopards
(9-3, 5-2) secure their third win in a row.
"We came out swinging well," head coach Mike Williams
said. "We scored in just about every inning. It made the
difference in the ball game."
Banks County will look to carry that scoring momentum into their
next several contests. The Leopards were scheduled to play Riverside
Wednesday afternoon. The team will get an off day on Friday before
hosting Rabun County Monday.
"I think they're solid," Williams said of Rabun County.
"They're definately not a gimme team. They have a real good
catcher. We have tried to hit and run and do some base stealing
in the last couple of games and we are going to have to be aware
that he's back there."
VS. EAST HALL
The Leopards were able to go ahead of East Hall 16-6 Monday afternoon
to end the game in the sixth inning.
Up 12-6 with one out in the bottom of the sixth, Drew Gowder
singled up the middle. Bray Maxwell came behind Gowder and hit
a routine fly to shallow right field.
But in a bizarre twist of events, East Hall's second baseman
dropped back to catch the fly at the same as the Vikings' right
fielder stepped up. The second baseman fell trying to catch the
fly and the ball hit the ground. The second baseman, who was
still sitting in the grass, picked up the ball and tried to throw
it to the infield.
Instead, the ball hit the right fielder, who was standing just
feet away from the second baseman, in the side of head and rolled
farther into the outfield.
The right fielder threw his glove and hat into the air and headed
toward centerfield as the second baseman retrieved the ball and
threw into the infield. In the meantime, Maxwell was able to
reach third as Gowder scored.
"They (East Hall) basically just rolled over after that,"
Duran Bellotte stepped up next for the Leopards and singled to
right. Maxwell scored as the right fielder walked over to pick
up the ball and throw into the infield. Ryan Loggins was walked,
putting runners on first and second.
Joe Krause then doubled to right field, scoring Bellotte and
putting the Leopards up 15-6. Eli Cooper sealed the win with
a fly ball that the centerfielder dropped. Clint Angel, who was
running for Loggins, crossed the plate to give the Leopards a
16-6 lead and end the game on the 10-run rule.
"We got a little confidence about us," Williams said.
"We were up for the game."
East Hall started out in the top of the first inning putting
two runs on the board on a two-run homer.
The Leopards responding in the bottom of the inning. Krause and
Cooper both reached base to lead off the inning.
Joseph Whitlock came behind Cooper and knocked in Krause. Clean-up
man Hank Jones doubled in Jason Hill, who was running for Cooper.
With runners on second and third, Ross Oliver was hit by a pitch
to load the bases. Drew Gowder stepped up and grounded to third.
A bad throw home allowed Whitlock to score, putting the Leopards
Maxwell was then walked to give Banks County a 4-2 lead. Bellotte
flied to right field, allowing Jones to tag up and score, putting
Banks ahead 5-2. East Hall was able to get out of the inning
without further damage.
"I told Joe (Krause) and Eli (Cooper) that if they hit the
ball well to start off with, our team would feed off that,"
The Vikings picked up a run in the second inning to cut the score
Cooper was able to reach first as Hill replaced him on the base
path. Whitlock knocked in Hill to up the Leopards' lead to 6-3.
Two batters later, Oliver singled in Whitlock to give Banks County
a 7-3 lead.
The Vikings scored another run in the third inning and were able
to shutout Banks County in the bottom half of the inning.
East Hall took an unearned run in the top of the fourth inning
to cut Banks' lead to 7-5.
Cooper again leadoff the bottom half of the inning for the Leopards
by barely beating out a ground ball to second. Hill came in to
run for Cooper and reached third after Whitlock doubled to a
gap in left-center.
Two batters later, Oliver was again hit by a pitch to load the
Hill, Whitlock and Oliver all scored as Gowder doubled into right
field. Maxwell was able to knock Gowder in to give Banks County
an 11-5 lead. Maxwell later scored as Bellotte singled into left
East Hall scored its final run of the game in the top of the
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Banks County New.
Tigers Score 31 In Two
Region baseball started for Commerce this past week and the Tigers
jumped out to a 2-0 start.
Commerce has three region games at home coming this week. The
Tigers face Rabun Gap Thursday, April 5, Jefferson, April 6,
and Providence, April 9.
The Tigers opened the season at Rabun Gap March 28.
Brody Bearden led off for the Tigers' offense and opened the
game with a walk. Charlie Epps hit a single, moving Bearden to
second. Indians' pitching pushed Bearden across the plate with
two wild pitches, and the Tigers were ahead with a one run lead.
The lead was short lived. Rabun Gap opened the first with five
consecutive hits and scored three runs.
The Tigers were quiet in the second. Only Sam Cutler reached
when he was hit by a pitch.
Rabun Gap scored two runs in the second on a home run by the
lead-off hitter. In the third, the Indians scored seven more
runs, all unearned. The Tigers committed two errors and gave
up five hits in the inning. With two outs, starter Dane Cotrell
was relieved by Craig Henderson who finally put an end to the
disastrous inning. After three innings the score was 12-1.
The Tigers made a game of it quickly. An error by the shortstop
allowed Cotrell to reach and then back-to-back triples by Cutler
and Scott White led to a four-run fourth.
Henderson's pitching continued to be the answer to stopping the
Indians' offense as he faced only four batters in the home half
of the fourth.
Commerce then rallied its offense once again. Still down 12-5
going into the fifth, the Tigers exploded. Adam Stephenson singled
to open the inning and was followed by a walk by Dane Cotrell.
Wes Pricket sent a sacrifice fly to center to score Stephenson,
who had advanced after a wild pitch, and an error by the center
fielder allowed Cotrell to score. Cutler singled followed by
a White's RBI single. Cutler and White were driven in by a triple
from Bearden and Epps got Bearden across the plate with a double.
The Tigers scored six runs in the fifth and cut the Indians'
lead to one.
The sixth and seventh innings were quiet for both teams. Rabun
Gap held onto a one-run lead going into the top of the seventh.
Kevin Wilson led off the seventh inning. He reached on an error
by the right fielder. A wild pitch moved Wilson to third. With
one out and the Tigers still trailing by one run, Bearden lifted
a fly ball into center and Wilson scored on the sacrifice.
Rabun Gap failed to score in the seventh and the game had to
be decided in extra innings.
The Tigers' half of the eighth began with Henderson and Cotrell
taking walks to first. Prickett advanced the runners with a sacrifice
bunt and Wilson tripled to drive in two runs for the lead. Wilson
scored when White hit into a fielder's choice. The Tigers took
the lead 15-12.
Henderson faced only three batters in the bottom of the eighth,
and the Tigers gained a win in their first region game of the
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Commerce News.
Region 8-AAA start for Diamond Panthers
The Jackson County Panthers will face region opponents Stephens
County, Madison County, Eastside and Hart County this week as
they near the midway point of the 2001 region schedule.
The Panthers were to host Stephens County today, but the game
has been rescheduled for Monday at 5:30 p.m. A twice-postponed
game at Madison County will be played Thursday at 6 p.m.
Eastside hosts Jackson County Friday at 6 p.m., and Hart County
comes to Jefferson Tuesday at 5:30 p.m.
Early REGION RACE TIGHT
Though it's still early, the race for Region 8-AAA's four playoff
spots looks like it will be a tight one. Jackson County joins
Hart County, Stephens County and Loganville with only one loss
each. Madison County is 2-2 and Winder-Barrow 1-3. Eastside,
Elbert County and Franklin County currently inhabit the cellar
"It's going to be one of those roller coaster rides in the
region," head coach Rusty Hendricks said of the race. "We're
trying to take them one game at a time right now and not even
think about the region. When it's all over, we'll see where we
A number of players contributed key efforts in the win at Winder-Barrow.
Pitcher Michael Hill put forth a strong seven-inning performance,
including picking off the leadoff hitter at second base after
giving up a single and a stolen base.
Winder threatened early, a Bulldogg runner reaching second base
with no outs in the first inning, but Hill fired to Cody Fortson
to pick the man off at second. Tim Whisnant came up with a shoestring
catch in the outfield, and Hill recorded a strikeout to end the
Hill also came through with one of the game's two key hits, leading
off the fifth inning with a single.
A pinch-runner was called on to replace hill on base, and soon
reached second on a wild pitch. Senior Blake Wilson laid down
a perfect bunt that moved the runner to third, and Lee Reece
pushed the run across with a hit.
The run came just one half-inning after third baseman Trey McConnell
had gunned down a Winder runner at the plate, with catcher Brad
Pittman recording the out.
"Trey did a good job defensively for us," Hendricks
The Bulldoggs could manage only two infield popups in the bottom
of the seventh, and Hill closed the game with a strikeout.
"It's a tribute to Michael that he didn't have his best
game, but he was strong enough to win," Hendricks said of
his senior ace.
Raiders to make first trip to state
The Lady Raider soccer team has clinched the program's first
trip to the state tournament.
Madison County, 7-2-1, defeated Loganville 2-1 last Thursday
to earn a third seed in the state tournament, which is scheduled
to begin Friday, May 4.
"This is the strongest team we've ever had," said head
coach Andy Felt. "This is our first year ever in the playoffs
and I expect us to do well when we get there."
Sweeper Jennifer Costyn made a remarkable goal in the win over
Loganville Thursday, kicking the ball into the net from about
40 yards out.
"She (the sweeper) is the last person other than the goalie
that should be scoring," said Felt.
Standout Jana Ackerman scored the winning goal against Loganville
in the second half.
The Lady Raiders traveled to Jackson County Friday, easily handling
the Lady Panthers 8-0. Ackerman had three goals. Summer Shenk
and April Irvin had two goals each and Jamie Fitzpatrick also
scored. Megan Holloman had three assists.
The Lady Raiders, who were scheduled to face Hart County at home
Tuesday, will host Oglethorpe County at 7 p.m. April 19.
In junior varsity action Thursday, the 6-1 Lady Raiders suffered
their first loss of the year, a 2-1 setback to Loganville. Whitney
McGuire had the lone score for Madison County.
The varsity boys' soccer squad fell 4-2 to Loganville Friday
night, dropping to 3-5-1. Loganville scored the first goal at
the 19:05 mark of the first half. But Madison County roared back
less than a minute later with two goals in 34 seconds. Joseph
Jones faked out a defender and scored with 18:23 left before
intermission and Alan Alvarez put the ball in the net with 17:49
to go in the half on a pass from Brandon Ownby.
But Loganville outscored the Raiders 3-0 in the second half to
claim the win.
Madison County was scheduled to host Stephens County at 5 p.m.
today (Wednesday) in the season finale.