Area Sports...

MARCH 17, 2004

CHS Netters Await Matches With Social Circle, ACS
If history is any indicator, both Commerce boys’ and girls’ tennis teams are eying good opportunities to nab sub-region wins as they’ll take on Social Circle Thursday on the road at 4 p.m.
Both squads beat Social Circle handily last year, 5-0, to end the regular season and the boys then turned around and downed the Indians 5-0 in the first round of the sub-region tournament.
“Hopefully, we’ll be able to put one out down there,” Tiger tennis coach Walt Massey said.
Matchups with Athens Christian will follow Tuesday at 4 p.m.
Massey said his teams — which took on Jefferson this past Tuesday but results weren’t available — are still ironing things out in practice right now.
“Hopefully, we’ll get something sorted out,” he said. “We’re still competing against each other.”
The boys’ team was off from competition this past week but the Commerce girls’ tennis team played, falling to Prince Avenue 4-1 last Tuesday. The girls had beaten Prince Avenue 3-2 last year in the sub-region tournament.
Summer Hutchins and Jena Fields earned the team’s only point with an 8-6 win at the number one doubles slot.
The team had to close 8-5 losses at the number two singles and doubles spots.
Massey wasn’t overly discouraged by the loss and said he felt his group had a chance to even the tables in their April 1 rematch with Prince Avenue.
“Hopefully, we can turn that around by the next time we play them,” he said.
The day did have one positive as the JV girls’ team won three of four matches. Getting victories in singles action were P.J. Faber (8-6) and Rachel Wooten (8-4) while Kristy Teague and Jennie Allen picked up an 8-3 doubles win.
“I was really impressed with how our JV played,” he said. “It was getting dark and cold by the time they played ... They had to sit there for a long time.”

Tennis season-opener
The Banks County tennis teams traveled to Dawsonville Thursday for the season-opener.
Lady Leopard netters won as a team, 4-1. The boys’ lost 3-2.
In number one singles action, Catie Murphy defeated her Dawson County opponent, 8-3. Number two seed Brittany House won her match as well, 8-6. Jessie Wiltsie, number three seed, won her match 8-1.
For the boys, Michael Baker, a number one seeded freshman, won his match 8-3. Daniel Esparza, Banks County’s number two seed, lost his match 8-2. The number three seed, Chancey Dorsey, won his match 8-5.
In doubles action, the number two seeded team made up of Kayla Sims and Hannah Jordan won their match 8-2. The number one seed, Kayla Duncan and Heather Beck, lost their match 8-5.
In boys’ doubles, Jesse Major and Kyle Roberts played as the first seed and lost 8-0. Ben Lewis and John Payne also lost, they were seeded in the number two spot.
Banks County coach Mike Ruth said seeding decisions were made that day and they may decide to change some things around.

Back in the swing of things
Dragon bats help spur three wins in last four games played
There’s nothing like a winning streak to cure all.
The Jefferson baseball team responded with three consecutive wins following a rough 1-2 opening to the season and, despite dropping a game Tuesday night, is now 4-3 overall on the season.
Spurring the recent turnaround has been the Dragon bats, which were quiet through the first few games of the season. With run production up and a pitching staff that has been consistent for the most part, head coach Tommy Knight stated he is optimistic about the way things are going all around for the Diamond Dragons.
“We’ve been playing pretty well, one thing that’s really helped us is we’ve been hitting the ball a lot better than we did in our first two games,” he said Wednesday. “If we can continue to get good pitching then I feel like our bats are going to keep us in most games.”
Tuesday though the Dragons solid run production was not enough to hold off region rival Athens Academy. The Spartans (5-3, 3-0 Region 8-A) rallied from a 6-1 hole going into the sixth inning to win 7-6 at Horace Jackson Field.
The loss ended a three-game win streak for the Dragons and dropped their record to 2-1 in region play this season.
Starter Mark Price threw the ball well for much of the game, Knight said, but may have been a bit fatigued heading into the later innings. He was taken out of the game with the score 6-4.
Derek Alewine picked up the win for Academy while also going 2-for-4 with two doubles and two runs to lead his team. Brett Satterfield went 1-for-3, scoring the other two runs. While Walter Shamp went 2-for-4 with one double and Sam Pittard went 2-for-4 with two RBIs.
Despite the defeat, the game was again indicative of the type of team effort Knight expected heading into the season from Jefferson. With plenty of offensive fire power the Dragons appear to be as solid a hitting team as there is in the region. Through the last four games Jefferson is averaging 8.2 runs a contest.
Last Saturday the Dragons held off intracity rival Jackson County 8-4 at home.
Brian Wells socked a three-run homer in the bottom of the first to put Jefferson up 4-2. J. Wood added an RBI single earlier in the inning as well.
The Panthers will get a chance at redemption Saturday however, as Jefferson travels to JCCHS for their second meeting of the season.
“Jackson County, they’re fundamental and coach (Scott) Roberts has done a nice job over there,” Knight said. “I’m sure its going to be a good game, it always is.”
The Dragons are off until that meeting, something that should allow them a slight advantage in terms over the Panthers, whose pitchers will not be as fresh because of a Friday game against Madison County.
Last Friday the Dragons also picked up their second region win of the season, knocking off Towns County 9-1.

Rivalry weekend lies ahead for Diamond Cats
Five-game homestand begins Fri. vs. Madison, followed by rematch with Dragons on Sat.
Now a good two weeks into the schedule, the Jackson County baseball team is finding out what it is going to take to win on the diamond this season, but so far the process has been a difficult one.
This past Monday the Panthers dropped their opening game of the region schedule at Clarke Central 8-7, but from that contest they hope to carry several bright spots into a big weekend homestand that starts Friday at 5:30 p.m. against Madison County.
If Jackson County (0-4, 0-1 in Region 8-AAAA) can continue to improve, its likely that they will crack the win column soon, head coach Scott Roberts said Tuesday..
“It’s tough when you let one slip away like that, but if we continue to get better it will start showing up on the scoreboard soon,” he said.
Friday’s contest against the Red Raiders would be as good a time as any to break though. Madison County advanced to the second round of the state tournament a season ago and finished second in the region.
But, they were the lone region team Jackson County knocked off last year during what was a rough 3-23 season.
The following day the Panthers will host intracity rival Jefferson in a rematch of a game played this past Saturday at Horace Jackson Field, in which the Panthers jumped ahead early, but were knocked off nonetheless by the host Dragons.
“Both teams played really hard and battled each other with a lot of class,” Roberts said. “It was great to be part of that rivalry atmosphere. (Jefferson) coach (Tommy) Knight has done a great job with his guys and we look forward to seeing them again on Saturday.”
Game time is set for 1:30 p.m.

Tough course awaits Raider golfers at Warrior Invitational
MCHS downs Elbert County by 27 strokes Thursday
The Raider golf team will tackle one of the most challenging courses it will see this year when it takes part in the 32-team Warrior Invitational at Skitt Mountain Saturday.
Raider golf coach Chris Smth said his squad will have to be accurate off the tee because the Skitt Mountain course is “really, really tight.”
“We have to stay on the fairway ... if you’re left to right, you’re in another fairway,” he said.
Smith warned that the layout doesn’t leave much room for error, especially with how the coach said his team has played around the greens this season.
Smith explained that the greens at other courses are generally faster than the ones the Raiders are accustomed to at home which has caused the team problems in putting the ball this spring.
“Our short game hasn’t been so great this year,” he said.
The team, however, will get a chance to become acclimated to the Skitt Mountain course with a Friday practice round.
Smith said the field of teams at the White County-hosted tournament will include Habersham Central, South Forsyth, Cartersville, Heritage and Dalton.
Before the tournament, the team will have a Thursday match with Jackson County at Eagle Greens.
Madison County is coming off a 157-184 win over Elbert County this past Thursday.
Seth McCain led the team with a 37. Alex Gay added a 38 and Chris Cooper and Zach Miller rounded things out with scores of 40 and 42.

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