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SPORTS SECTION

SPORTS SECTION - AUGUST 11, 1999

BCHS / CHS / JCCHS / JHS / MCHS

Popping fresh: BCHS using new recipe
BY DREW BRANTLEY
The first game is still three weeks away for the Banks County football team. However, the Leopards are not waiting on their cake to rise to start hitting.
"I've been real pleased with the way they've been hitting," coach Rance Gillespie said. "Our morning defensive practices have been real physical. They've teed off on each other."
This week the Leopards have held three practice sessions a day during their team camp. They will continue hitting each other next week at one practice per week, leading up to the start of school next Friday.
"We've had a pretty good week of camp," Gillespie said. "We had hoped to have everything in so this week we could concentrate on getting the players reps. We have spent some of the time tying up loose ends. But it's been a great time."
On Friday, Aug. 27, Banks County will get a chance to hit a different color jersey in a jamboree with Dawson County and Fannin County.


Tiger Sharks Earn 3 Firsts
The Commerce Tiger Sharks swim team attacked the state GRPA state championships this weekend with great rewards.
Commerce earned 10 top three finishes, including three first places in the final event of the year.
The boys' 18-under 200-yard freestyle relay won first place. The team included Kason Glenn, Brandon Glenn, Nick Moulton and Clint Chester.
K. Glenn won first place in the 50 butterfly. He was also second in the 50 freestyle.
Moulton was the state champion in the 50 backstroke. He was also fifth in the 100 individual medley.
B. Glenn had third-place finishes in the 50 breaststroke and butterfly events.
S. McFadden was third in the 50 backstroke and fifth in the 50 butterfly.
Chester was third in the 50 backstroke and sixth in the 50 breast stroke.
The girls' 8-under 100 medley relay team won third place. Katelyn Nevil, Kristina McFadden, Casey Teague and Amber Bell made up the team.
Bell was also third place in the 25 breaststroke.
Nevil was seventh in the 25 backstroke. K. McFadden was seventh in the 25 freestyle.
PENTATHALON
Earlier this summer, the team competed in the Pentathalon in Gainesville. Swimmers competed in the short freestyle, breaststroke, backstroke, butterfly and IM. The total times were ranked according to age groups.
In the 8-under girls, Bell was third and K. McFadden was fourth. For the 12-under boys, Josh Totherow was eighth.
S. McFadden was seventh for the 18-under girls.
K. Glenn, Moulton and B. Glenn and Chad Scoggins swept second through fifth place in the 18-under boys division.
LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIPS
The Commerce Tiger Sharks placed fifth in the North Georgia Swim League Championships. Commerce had the smallest of the 12 competing teams.
Josh Swistak won the short freestyle and was second in the 25 backstroke to claim the 6-under high-point trophy.
K. McFadden was first in the 25 freestyle and butterfly. She also was fourth in the IM and sixth in the 50 freestyle.
Nevil was second in the backstroke and butterfly and third in the 25 freestyle and fourth in the 50 freestyle.
Bell took first place in the breaststroke, third in the IM, fourth in the backstroke and fifth in the 50 freestyle.
Teague was sixth in the backstroke and seventh in the 50 free and butterfly.
Teague, Bell, Nevil and K. McFadden took first in the 8-under free relay.
Christopher Ervin was first in the IM, fifth in the backstroke and sixth in the butterfly.
Sarah Ervin was eighth in the breaststroke for the 10-under girls.
Totherow was sixth in the backstroke and breaststroke, while taking seventh in the IM.
S. McFadden was second in the backstroke, fourth in the short freestyle and fifth in the butterfly.
K. Glenn was first in the short freestyle and butterfly. He was also second in the breaststroke and third in the long freestyle.
Moulton was first in the backstroke. He was also second in the short freestyle and third in the IM.
B. Glenn was third in the short freestyle. He was fourth in the short free, long free and butterfly.
Chester was third in the backstroke and breaststroke. He was also fourth in the short freestyle and fifth in the butterfly.
Chester, K. Glenn, B. Glenn and Moulton took first place in the 200 medley and free relay.
Also participating for Commerce were: Ashley Diggs, Lindsay Swistak, Kristy Teague, Star Wofford, Sarah Pippen, Kristen Hill, Ashley Bell, Laura House, Logan Rodman, Sean Toney, Stephen Brown and Ryan Toney.


Getting geared up
With the nucleus of 1998's 22-8 squad returning, Lady Raiders look for another solid year
BY BEN MUNRO
As practice got under way for the 1999 softball team, one couldn't blame head coach Doug Kesler if he wanted to crack a smile.
After all, he does have all but two players returning from last year's squad that tallied a stellar 22-8 record-the bulk of those players who will just be entering their junior seasons-which is enough to put anybody in a good mood as the sky could be the limit for this year's team.
"We've got a pretty good nucleus returning," said Kesler of his squad, who will be entering their second year of fast-pitch competition. "We are pretty hopeful about this year and we think we've got an opportunity to be pretty good."
This year's team members will have their sights set on the prize that eluded them a year ago, a trip to the state tournament. But accomplishing that feat won't be any walk in the park, as only two teams out of each area earn a spot in the state tourney. And the fact that Oconee County, the three-time defending state champion, is in the same area doesn't make matters any easier for Kesler's group.
But if anybody can give the Lady Warrior squad, along with strong teams like Dacula, Central Gwinnett, North Gwinnett and Habersham Central, a run for their money, it may be this group of athletes who were successful last year in breaking into the fast-pitch game.
Those included in that strong nucleus of players returning from last year's squad who could be leading the way on the diamond for Madison County again are athletes such as Tawana Moon, who was named to the second team of the All-State team last year, catcher Shelly Bates, who Kesler believes is one of the best around North Georgia, third baseman Renee Matthews, who was named to the All-Area team last year, and pitcher Sheena Mason, who Kesler said gained a lot of mound experience over the course of last season.
However, the Lady Raiders might have to do without the services of one of their key pitchers this season as junior Rebecca Booker suffered a torn ACL last year, leaving her return this year questionable.
"We're hopeful that we're going to get her back for part of the year, but there are no guarantees," said Kesler. "We're planning to have to play without her and if she can play, it will just be a plus for us."
However, for the Lady Raider's actual preparation for the season, Kesler finds himself short on time as practice began on August 2 while the season opening contest against Cedar Shoals is awaiting Madison County on Monday.
So with the limited practice schedule, Kesler has had his squad work double time as the Lady Raiders have been going through two-a-day practice sessions to try to prepare themselves for the heated competition this fall in the battle to secure one of those two area spots.
And for Kesler and his squad, there is a lot for them to cover in a limited time.
"We've just have to cover all the bases and be prepared going into that first game," said Kesler. "I have a checklist of everything we need to be able to do when we go into the first game and we've just got to go by that and be sure we have everything covered."


Lady Panthers softball looking to rebuild
BY ADAM FOUCHE
After a record 24 wins and the school's first ever trip to the playoffs, topping last year's Jackson County Comprehensive High School softball season will be a tough road to follow.
"It's going to be tough," said JCCHS softball coach Clarke Rainwater. "I've got some good players, but it's going to be awfully tough."
The Lady Panthers lost three key players to graduation last year. Danielle Grice and Kelly Cronic will be especially big losses for the Panthers. Grice and Cronic broke almost every school softball hitting record.
Two other starters will also be missing from the Lady Panthers lineup.
First baseman Christy Barber will not be playing this year and left fielder Allie Allen fell to a knee injury during basketball season last year. With the four key players gone, Rainwater will have to replace his two, three, four and five spot hitters.
"I don't think we can replace them," Rainwater said. "We won't be able to replace the power, but we hope to single and double everyone to death. I told the girls to try and increase their batting average by .50 points."
Despite a few losses, Jackson County will be returning some key starters.
This year's team will consist of five seniors, the most since Rainwater began coaching at the school.
Four-year starter Krystal Britt will return to the left-centerfield position. Pitcher Carly Parr, a four-year starter who shares time with cross country, will also return for the Lady Panthers.
"Krystal is an excellent defensive and offensive player," said Rainwater. "Carly splits some time between softball and cross country, but she does a good job pitching for us."
With a shorter practice season than most sports, Rainwater said a key to the team's success will lie in summer softball play. He said that all his varsity players put in some time playing softball this summer.
"The summer play will certainly help us," he said.
Rainwater will also look to his seniors to help carry the team to the playoffs.
"The seniors I have have helped build the program we have today," he said. "They need to get the younger kids motivated to get the senior class back to state."
Jackson County's main competition will be area foes West Hall and North Hall high schools. Winder and Oconee County will also be solid competition for the Lady Panthers.
"West Hall and North Hall didn't lose many seniors at all," said Rainwater. "They have strong JV programs and it's going to be hard to bump them out."
Jackson County's first game will be Aug. 18 at Washington-Wilkes at 5 p.m.


From The Sideline
No sense: cash for trading cards
I spent the entire summer of my ninth year looking for Bob Horner's rookie baseball card. He had been rookie of the year in 1978 as a third baseman for the Atlanta Braves.
He had hit 24 home runs in half a season. He was surely going to break Hank Aaron's all-time homer record. If I could get his rookie card, I would have enough money to never work for the rest of my life.
In a multi-pack deal from Topps sports cards I purchased for 83 cents at the Benjamin Franklin dollar store in Eatonton, I got my Bob Horner card. As far as aspirations, I was pretty much done for a few years after that. What else could a boy need?
Well, things didn't work out for me or Horner. He had a better than average Major League career. I had a better than average childhood. But I am working every day, and Horner fell about 500 home runs short of Aaron.
I was hooked on collecting baseball cards. I never pursued them with the same vigor as that summer of 1979, though. Every year after that I would buy a few cards.
This weekend, I went through some of my cards and found one of the rookie Wade Boggs cards I have. Out of the card trading loop, I wondered what it might go for. I called a shop in Athens that offered $12 for it. It just didn't seem like a valid reward for my years of collecting baseball cards.
I have at least one rookie card for Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson, Wade Boggs, Sammy Sosa, Frank Thomas, Chipper Jones and Mike Piazza. I tried trading for some older cards. I have Mike Schmidt's second card. An early card of Nolan Ryan and a rookie card for Reggie Jackson and Eddie Murray.
I also started buying football and basketball cards at the same time. I ended up with rookie cards for Earl Campbell, Randall Cunningham, Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders.
None of my cards are worth much now. But if I continue to keep them in good shape, they should grow to a respectable price.
But what I have found is that no matter what they are worth, I don't want to sell them.
As Rickey Henderson neared the Major League record in stolen bases in 1992, his rookie card skyrocketed to near $200 in the price guides. Some people offered me $75 for one of the three I had. I just didn't want to give it up. In 1980, I probably spent $40-$50 of my parents' money on baseball cards. That is a generous estimate. Based on what was spent on each Rickey Henderson card, $75 would have been the kind of return on an investment anyone would have been pleased with. I just couldn't bring myself to sell it.
I don't know what it is. I suppose because I have been lucky enough to get the cards I have, I don't want to give up what they might become for the few dollars they would yield.
With most decisions I have to make, I tried to envision my life 10 years down the road without the card that might be worth several hundred dollars. Looking at my future self, I could not justify the transaction. Now the card is listed well under $75. I might could get $10 for it. And I still say that I made the right decision.
I may have started collecting cards because I thought I would make money on them, but that is not the case now. I think I will keep buying them and keep waiting. When somebody offers me what I think they're worth, I'll be able to buy my own team of real players.

Drew Brantley is the sports editor for The Commerce News and The Banks County News.
Email Drew Brantley


You should try other sports too
Adam Fouche
Don't get me wrong, I like all the major sports: football, baseball, basketball. But face it, those just aren't sports you play every single day.
There are, however, a few "alternative" sports that most people, most normal people, play every day.
First, there is 129ball. I know many of you have played it. I bet you just got done playing it.
The object of 129ball is to follow Hwy. 129 straight through the middle of Jefferson at 3:15 on a Monday during the school year. The game is very challenging.
I have played 129ball a lot. The competition is tough, and looks to have a strong JV field over the next few years, at least until the Jefferson bypass ends its win streak. The two traffic lights will be big returnees. The tractor trailers and school traffic are also looking good during the preseason.
I have found a few trick plays that usually seem to work in 129ball. If I am coming from Commerce going to Athens, I whip in front of Subway and then on through the administrative building parking lot to Hwy. 129. If I am coming from Athens, I just go down Pine Street to Gordon Street and then on to the square. When I am coming from the interstate, I just give up because there is no solid way to bypass the square from that direction.
Another game I play a lot is lineball. I don't like lineball at all.
The object of lineball is to make it through a line in a grocery store or department store. This game is also rather tough.
Lineball requires a lot of skill. You must possess good peripheral vision to sense a new line opening up or to see someone leaving a line. You must also concentrate to see someone in front of you pull out a checkbook or try to buy something without a UPC code on it so you can pull out of that line.
To play lineball and be good at it, you must be in top physical condition. I know that whenever I have to play, I often must hurdle buggies, small children and even display racks. You must also use speed to dart in and out of aisles and around slow-moving persons.
I have won a few games of lineball, though you must watch out for trick plays. When you sense a new line opening up, you must be sure that line is actually opening up. Sometimes a cashier is just counting money or changing the printer paper at a register. I have, a time or two, jumped out of a long line into what I though was a new line, only to find out the person was just collecting the money from the register. Also, don't trust the lighted checkout line numbers. They don't always play on your team.
I'm not too sure about the future of lineball. Here lately, the computerized self-checkers have started building a team. You can look for them to take over the sport in a few years because they are really building a strong program.
If you need any help with 129ball or lineball, let me know. I have put in my share of playing time for both sports. Or if you want, you can just stay at home all the time and get everything you need off the Internet. But that is a different sport all together.
Adam Fouche is a reporter for MainStreet Newspapers. Email Adam Fouche


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