Area Sports...

April 4, 2001

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 his peers.
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 Keen.
The state honor qualifies Thurmond for consideration as the regional head coach of the year, an award which will be presented at a later date.

Leopards 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."
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," Williams said.
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 ahead 3-2.
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," Williams said.
The Vikings picked up a run in the second inning to cut the score to 5-3.
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 bases.
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 field.
East Hall scored its final run of the game in the top of the fifth inning.
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Banks County New.

Tigers Score 31 In Two Victories
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 season.
For the rest of this story, see this weeks Commerce News.

3-1 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.
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 positions.
"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 are."
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 inning.
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 noted.
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.


Lady 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.

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