Area Sports...

May 22, 2002


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Sports Shorts
BCMS to host summer hoops camps
Banks County Middle School will be hosting several girls’ basketball camps this summer.
The first camp will be held June 24-28 from 8 a.m to 12 noon for upcoming seventh and eighth grade girls.
The second camp will take place July 15-19 from 8 a.m. to 12 noon for upcoming fourth, fifth and sixth grade girls. The younger girls’ camp will replace Mike Gordon’s 10-and-under camp.
The cost for each camp is $50. A $25 deposit is due to Coach Robin Redmond at BCMS before the end of school on May 31 for any girl who wishes to participate in one of the camps.
For more information on the camps or to make a deposit, contact Redmond at the middle school at (706)677-2277.
Spring sports banquet
set for May 28
The Banks County High School All-Sports Booster Club spring sports banquet will be held Tuesday, May 28, at 7 p.m. in the BCHS auditorium.
Golf, tennis, baseball, track and soccer athletes will be honored at the banquet.


Commerce High School Ranked Eighth In Georgia Athletic Director’s Cup Standings
Even in a down year, Commerce’s sports program managed to rank amongst the tops in Class A.
Bolstered by a state championship in competitive cheerleading, the Commerce athletic program is currently rated eighth in the state in their classification in the Georgia Athletic Directors Association’s (GADA) Gatorade/Josten Directors’ Cup standings.
The Tiger athletic program earned 230 points this year, getting 100 points from the competitive cheerleading squad’s second Class A state title which they earned in Febuary.
Commerce was also awarded 60 points for a fourth-place finish in softball, 40 points for the wrestling team’s fifth-place finish at state, 20 points for the football teams’ second-round appearance in the state playoffs and 10 for a top 32 placing in girls’ track thanks to Anna Rollers’ fifth place finish at state in the 3200-meters.
Landmark Christian and Wesleyan are currently ranked first in the standings. The directors’ cup will be awarded at the conclusion of baseball season.
Four other fellow Region 8-A programs are currently in the top 10—Wesleyan, Providence Christian, Jefferson and Buford.
Though Commerce ranks eighth overall, the program currently stands at third in Class A amongst Georgia public schools behind Jefferson (no. 6) and Claxton (no. 7). Commerce was rated the top public school last year.
The GADA awards points in 23 varsity sports. The association has been compiling rankings since the 1999-2000 athletic season.


Diamond Dragons reach state’s final four
To host defending champ Walker
Jefferson High School’s Diamond Dragons defeated Wilcox County 13-4 Tuesday to advance to the Class A state semifinals.
The Dragons will next host defending state champion Walker this weekend. The series will begin Friday at 2 p.m. and continue with game two Saturday at 3 p.m. If a third game is necessary, it would be played immediately following game two.
“We know they’re the defending state champs,” Jefferson head coach Chuck Cook said, “and we know they’ve only lost one Class A game [to Gordon Lee] this season. We’ll get after it this weekend and see what happens.” Walker is 26-5 overall in 2002, and advanced to the semifinals by sweeping Atkinson County.
A series win over the defending champs would move Jefferson into the state finals against this weekend’s Prince Avenue - Bowdon winner next weekend on the road. Bowdon ended the Dragons’ playoff run in last year’s semifinals, and Jefferson has defeated Prince Avenue earlier this season.
WIN AT WILCOX
Tuesday’s win at Wilcox County featured good play from the top of the Jefferson lineup all the way down, but Michael Freeman and Ryan Gurley provided a potent 1-2 punch.
Gurley led off the game with a home run and belted a three-run shot in the fourth inning to break a 3-3 tie. The Dragons would not trail from there, thanks in part to a solid pitching performance from Freeman. The sophomore threw four innings for Jefferson, allowing three runs on four hits and two walks.
Freeman struggled early, yielding a double off the wall to start a three-run Wilcox first inning. But the young hurler settled down after that, holding the Patriots to one hit and one walk while striking out five over the next three innings.
Josh Nabors came home on a wild pitch with two out in the third, and Ben Songer ripped a double that burned the Wilcox right fielder and tied the game.
Chris Seibert struck out with one out in the fourth, but reached first base after the Wilcox catcher dropped the ball. Brantley Gilbert then walked before Gurley’s second long ball of the game made it 6-3. Nabors walked, Potts singled and Tyler Murphy hit into a fielder’s choice before Songer bashed a ground-rule double to score another run.
The Patriots picked up their fourth run in the sixth off a leadoff double and an error, but the Dragons weren’t satisfied with a three-run lead.
With one out and runners at the corners, Jefferson scored on a balk before Brian Wells singled and Seibert walked to load the bases. Brantley Gilbert doubled to drive in three runs, and advanced to third on the throw home. Gurley hit in to a fielder’s choice to plate his fifth run of the game, and Nabors capped the scoring with a solo home run.
Potts and Christopher Wheaton combined for three innings in relief of Freeman to preserve the win.
Game three was forced after Jefferson won game one 12-4 and Wilcox took game two 9-1. Potts struck out eight and walked two in game one, and Wheaton held his pitch count low on a strong performance in game two, despite the loss.
ATHENS FALLS
Jefferson advanced to meet Wilcox by sweeping Athens Academy last week, 12-2 and 11-1.
The Dragons picked up 10 two-out runs in the fourth inning of game one, Seibert providing the go-ahead RBIs with a two-run double. Potts went the distance on the mound, striking out 10 and walking three in five innings. The three walks were more than half as many as Potts had given up all season to that point. Through Tuesday, Potts has struck out 103 batters in 2002, while walking only 10.
A nine-run fifth inning was the difference in game two. Potts led off with a single and tripled to drive in three runs later in the inning. In between, the Dragons put five runs on the board.
In other state tournament notes, Bowdon swept Metter and Prince Avenue swept Hawkinsville.


Diamond Raider playoff run ends
Madison County trampled by Elephants in second round
The board on the press box at Red Raider Field which lists the accomplishments of the Madison County baseball program hasn’t seen fresh paint in four years.
But with a 2002 state tournament appearance now in the books, the legacy of this year’s Raiders will soon be enscribed with other Madison County squads of yesteryear..
“To be able to put on that big board ‘2002 State Sweet 16’ or whatever we’ll put there—it’s good to get a little tradition back in the program,” Raider head coach Charlie Griffeth said.
Madison County’s postseason run met a sour end this past Wednesday, falling 14-0 and 15-2 to AAA dynasty Gainesville. But an 18-win campaign and the breaking of a four-year state playoff drought will be what’s remembered, according to Raider head coach Charlie Griffeth.
“It was a very successful year,” he said. “They could have thrown in the towel after the first round of the region schedule or in the third game against Central Carroll. They showed some fight....For the overall program it was big. The young kids got a taste of the state playoffs.”
A revived tradition is just the spark Raider program needs as it will move into a challenging, new chapter in their history next year, jumping to AAAA after competing in AAA since 1978.
Griffeth said the move to AAAA will be a different ball game, especially since Madison County will be the smallest school in the classification.
Region 8-AAAA play will see the Raiders pitted against solid outfits like Newton County and Clarke Central next season, but Griffeth pointed out that his squad won’t be taken by surprize.
“We play a lot of AAAAA and AAAA teams in summer ball,” he said. “The kids are aware of what’s out there.”
COACHING HELP
Griffeth said a big factor in the success of the 2002 diamond Raiders was the cast that surrounded them, praising the efforts of assistant coaches Ken Morgan, Chris Waters and Andy Dean in the team’s state tourament season.
“They really worked with the team,” he said. “It was a big payoff.”
VS. GAINESVILLE
The Raiders likely won’t forget the name Michah Owings anytime soon.
The Gainesville standout and highly-touted big league prospect did his part to send the Raiders packing from the state playoffs Wednesday, combining for four home runs in a double header in 14-2 and 15-0 Elephants wins.
Owings also surrendered only one hit in four innings in a complete game win in the second contest.
“I didn’t realize that he was that much of an impact player,” Griffeth said. “I knew that he was close to the state home run record, but I had always heard that his best shot was as a pitcher.”
Overall, Griffeth said Madison County just ran into a dominant foe.
“They were maybe, on that day, the best high school team I’ve ever seen,” he said.
In the first game, Madison County held a short-lived 1-0 lead in the first inning off a sacrifice fly from Stephen Seagraves.
But Owings tatooed a three run shot on the softball field at Lanier Point park off starter Dustin Dinsmore to give the Elephants a 3-1 edge.
It certainly wouldn’t be the last homer from Owings or the Elephants.
Both Brian Van Bavel and brother John Mark Owings lowered the boom with long balls of their own to up the lead to 6-1 after an inning before M. Owings added a solo shot in the bottom of the second to up the lead to 7-1.
John Carroll then got in the act in the third with the team’s fifth homer of the day to push the lead to 8-1 before M. Owings jogged the bases a third straight time, this time with a towering grandslam to pad the lead at 12-1.
Gainesville added two more runs in the contest before the Raiders picked up a fifth inning score from Jonathan Pou, who came home off an error.
The game was called in the fifth inning due to the mercy run rule.
In the second game, Gainesville notched five first-inning runs without a long ball until M. Owings drilled a two-run job to the maintanence shed to give the Elephants a quick 7-0 edge.
Carroll made the score 9-0 in the third inning with his second round-tripper of the day before Gainesville added six more scores in the fourth, increasing their lead to 15 runs.
The game ended after the bottom half of the inning due to the run rule.
INDIVIDUAL AWARDS
The Madison County baseball team recognized some of the individuals Sunday evening at their awards banquet who stood out during their 2002 campaign.
Varsity honors included: Travis Calloway, Best Hitter; Dustin Dinsmore, Best Pitcher; Jonathan Pou, Best Defensive Player; Trey McCay, Most Improved; Tony Tittle, Best Hustle; Dinsmore, Coaches Award; Pou, Team Captain; and Stephen Seagraves, MVP.
Those earning JV awards were Will Ryder, Best Hitter; Dustin Hattaway, Best Pitcher; Cody Ferguson, Best Defensive Player; and Corey Boswell, Best Hustle.

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