Area Sports...

March 27, 2002


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Banks sweeps Franklin
Last week’s soccer games were probably unlike any the teams have played in this season.
They were competing on a baseball diamond turned soccer field. The field was shorter and narrower than most. And the teams and fans had to swim through mud to get there.
But Banks County’s soccer teams were able to sweep a young Franklin County team to take wins.
The Lady Leopards (5-5) earned a 5-1 win over the Lady Lions.
Lauren Reiselt scored all of the teams’ first half goals, helping Banks to a 3-1 halftime lead.
Franklin County scored its first goal of the season in the first half of the match. It was their only goal of the game.
In the second half, Ashley Dumas picked up another goal for the Lady Leopards. Later in the half, Dumas was driving to the goal with the ball and was pushed down. Megan Williams put the penalty kick in the goal for the win.
Banks’ game scheduled for Thursday was cancelled. The Lady Leopards won’t get back into action until after spring break.
LEOPARDS
The Leopards were able to take a 6-1 win over the Lions last week.
Banks’ defense held Franklin County off until the final minutes of the game, when Franklin managed to sneak a goal in with most of the Leopard starters off the field.
Ben Vang got Banks’ first two scores on early quick strikes.
In the second half, Chris Bray kicked the ball that deflected off a Franklin County player and went in for the score. The Leopards got their fourth goal when Franklin’s keeper and Leopard senior Joey Lincoln went for the ball. Lincoln was able to get the ball in with the goalie away from the net.
The Leopards scored the next goal, also with the keeper away from the net. Cory Bolton scored Banks’ final goal, getting a shot into the corner.


Tiger Track Teams To Run Thurs.
After facing a host of larger schools during the first two weeks of the season, the Commerce track teams will finally get a look at a smaller school this week when they take on AA Oglethorpe County in Lexington Thursday.
The track squads are coming off a meet this past week at AAAA Oconee County in which the girls’ team took on the Lady Warriors and AAA Elbert County, while the boys’ squad paired up with only Oconee.
No team scores were recorded Thursday however, since a wet surface wiped out several events, including the long jump, vault and triple jump.
But that didn’t stop the boys’ team from enjoying their most productive outing of the year with six of eight competitors placing in the meet.
Commerce boasted five individual placings in the throwing events with Tommy Eason leading that group, taking the top spot in the shot put with a throw of 40’6.5” while also taking first in the discus with a throw of 119’8.”
Others placing were Kenny Flint, who took second in the shut put with a throw of 37’7,” and third in the discus with a toss of 106;’ and Levi Burton, who finished fourth in the shot put with a throw of 35.’
“They’re improving,” track coach Terry Canup said. “They’re the strong suit of the boys’ team—the shot and the discus.”
On the track, Gary Saxon continued to be a force in the mile run, taking first in the 1600-meter race with a time of 5:17.
The freshman has already emerged as one of the Tigers’ top runners this year with a pair first-place showings in the mile race along with a third-place finish to his credit.
“He’s really been running well in the mile,” Canup said, adding that a hamstring injury hampered his training time for much of the year. “He’s been a pleasant surprise.”
Others placing running events were Jonathan Goodner, who finished second in the 400-meter race with a time of 63.12 seconds; and Scott Burns, who took fourth in the 100-meter race with a time of 13.12 seconds.
On the girls’ side, Anna Roller continued her solid season, placing in two events, the 3200 and 1600-meter races, taking third and fourth with times of 14:30 and 6:29.
Susan Simmons also placed, taking fourth in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 19.2 seconds.
“They’re our point scores,” Canup said of Roller and Simmons.
BOYS’ TEAM VS. OCONEE
Top finishers
•Gary Saxon,1600-meter race, first, 5:17
•Tommy Eason, shot put, first, 40’6.5”; discus, first, 119’8”
•Kenny Flint, shot put, second, 37’7”; discus, third, 106’
•Jonathan Goodner, 400-meter race, second, 63.12; 200 meter race, 30.53 seconds
•Scott Burns, 100-meter race, fourth, 13.12 seconds; 200-meter race, 30.53 seconds
•Levi Burton, shot put, fourth, 35’; discus, 83’
Others competing
•Josh Totherow, 1600-meter race, 7:07; 3200-meter race, 15:07
•Kyle Wood, 3200-meter race, 15:59
GIRLS’ TEAM VS. OCONEE AND ELBERT
Top finishers
•Anna Roller, 3200-meter race, third, 14:30; 1600-meter race, fourth, 6:29
•Susan Simmons, 100-meter hurdles, fourth, 19.2 seconds; 300-meter hurdles, 62.05
Others competing
•Jessica Ward, 1600-meter race, 9:01; 3200-meter race, 18:22 seconds.
•Maria Evans, 400-meter race, 81.09 seconds; 800-meter race, 3:07, 4’4”
•Ashley Bell, 400-meter race, 83 seconds; 800-meter race, 3:46.
•Mary Beth Howington, shot put, 19’4”; discus, 54’3”
•Hillary Handley, shot put, 15’2”


Panthers struggle in early region games
Three more region chances this week
After a difficult opening of its region schedule, the Jackson County baseball team will host Madison County Friday and Winder-Barrow Monday for its third and fourth region games of the season. The Panthers were scheduled for a trip to Loganville today to meet the always-tough Red Devils, a team that reached the state quarterfinals in 2001.
Friday’s game is set for a 5:55 p.m. start, while Monday’s first pitch will be thrown at 5:30 p.m.
REGION OPENER WITH
HENDRICKS’ HURRICANES
Jackson County opened its region schedule last week in Monroe against former Panther head coach Rusty Hendricks and his new charges, the Hurricanes.
Starter Trey McConnell struggled with his control early, and both the offense and defense had a difficult time. Monroe claimed the win, 11-5.
Drew Cantrell turned in a strong performance in relief, giving up only five hits and no earned runs through five innings. The problem was all the unearned runs - seven of them - scored by Monroe in the final three innings of the game.
Though quiet for most of the game, Panther bats provided a few highlights for the Jackson County faithful who made the trek to Monroe and braved a spine-tingling wind.
With his team down 4-0 after two innings, Ben Minish walked to lead off the third, then scored Jackson County’s first run after Cody Fortson and Seth Potts both singled.
Fortson revived the visiting crowd and put the Panthers back in the game in the fourth with a three-run blast to left-center that tied the game at 4-4. Fortson’s hit came after Preston Shiflet reached on an infield hit and Minish drew another walk.
The wheels started coming off of the Panther machine in the bottom half, though, and Monroe picked up three runs off only one hit, three Jackson County errors and a walk. The story was much the same in the fifth and sixth. In the final three innings, the Panthers gave up seven runs on five hits and six errors.
Brad Pittman gave Panther fans a reason to cheer in the seventh, when he led off with a double. Russ Johnston later pushed the run across on an infield out to close the scoring at 11-5.
The Panthers were saddled with their second region loss in as many tries Monday in a 3-0 decision at home against Elbert County.


Dragons take two from Prince Avenue, falter at GMC
For head coach Chuck Cook and Jefferson’s varsity baseball team, 2002 has already been a season of highs and lows.
The Dragons will need to be on the high end this week, as they open their region schedule against Lakeview Academy, a team that has already beaten second-ranked defending state runner-up Bowdon and Providence. The game was set to get under way today at 4:30 p.m. in Gainesville.
Jefferson will travel to Berrien County Saturday for a doubleheader. Game one is slated to begin at 10 a.m. After that, the Dragons are off until next Friday’s showdown with rival Commerce at home.
LAST WEEK’S HIGHS
Jefferson picked up its fifth and sixth wins of the season last week, both over a much-improved Prince Avenue team.
Kyle Potts struck out nine and allowed only three hits in five innings last Wednesday, and helped himself by driving in five runs off 4-for-4 hitting (1 HR, 1D) to lead Jefferson to a 12-2 win.
Josh Nabors went 2-for-2 and scored three times, Tyler Murphy hit safely in two of three tries, and Brantley Gilbert was 2-for-4 with two doubles. Jeremy Smith, Brandon Cain and Michael Freeman also recorded hits.
The Dragons’ second win of the week came Monday, again over Prince Avenue.
“We had one big inning [in Wednesday’s win] against them,” Cook recalled. “We’d kind of like to start having a lot of those big innings, because it came up and bit us at GMC.”
LAST WEEK’S LOW
Georgia Military College handed Jefferson its third loss of the season Saturday, 5-2. The Dragons punched out five hits in the first three innings, but failed to score.
“We got the runners on, and then we didn’t do what we needed to do to get them across,” Cook said.
GMC scored all five of its runs in the third inning, off five hits, two walks and a hit batsman. Aside from the third, pitcher Christopher Wheaton shut GMC down for most of the game.
Jefferson picked up two runs in the sixth after Potts doubled off the fence and later scored on a passed ball. Murphy followed with his fifth home run of the season.
“We played some good defense,” Cook said of his team’s play late in the game. “We gave ourselves a chance.”
Chris Seibert led off the seventh with a double and Ryan Gurley - in his first at-bat of the season - doubled off the outfield fence. Unfortunately for the Dragons, Cook was forced to hold the runner, thinking the ball might be caught. With runners at second and third and no outs, Jefferson batters missed their chance to get back in it, grounding out to third base three times to end the game.
“We had our chances,” Cook said, “but we’ve got to play the whole game like we played in the sixth and seventh innings. If we learn to step off the bus ready to play, we’ll be okay. We definitely have the tools, the talent and the knowledge to do it; we just have to do it consistently.”


Girls’ track team takes second in two events
Madison County’s girls’ track team topped Winder, Eastside, Greene County and Athens Christian last week, but fell to Norcross and Oglethorpe County.
The Lady Raiders took second in a five-team tournament at Winder last Tuesday and finished second again in a tri-meet Thursday at Athens Christian.
“Both days were very good,” said Lady Raider track coach Elaine Johnson. “I was very pleased with Tuesday and Thursday. The girls are working real hard. It’s been a good season so far.”
Johnson pointed out that Debbie Ebalobo continued her dominance in the long distance events and that Melanie Elrod was particularly strong in the hurdles on Thursday.

FIRST PLACE FINISHES
Madison County’s first place finishes last week included Ebalobo’s top mark in the 3,200-meter race Tuesday with a time of 12:59. She also won the event Thursday with a 13:08, placing first the same day in the 1,600-meter run with a 5:57. Also on Thursday, Ashley Collins took first in the shotput with a throw of 32’7.” Melanie Elrod won the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 19.43 seconds and the 300-meter hurdles with a time of 54.03 seconds. Amanda Norton won the 800-meter race with a tie of 2:49. The 4X400 relay team of Amber Klingler, Melissa Elrod, Katherine Morris and Sarah Owen also placed first.
NEXT
Madison County, which was scheduled to travel to Franklin County Tuesday — results weren’t available as of press time — will visit Lexington Thursday at 4:30 p.m. to face Oglethorpe County and Commerce.


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