Originally created 02/20/00

Georgia baseball previews



AQUINAS

Coach: Mike Laney, 6th year

1999 record: 11-13

Returning players: 1B-DH Matt Ryan (Sr., 6-1, 210); 3B Dominic Prestifillipo (Sr., 6-2, 190); OF/SS/P Chris Mayr (Jr., 6-1, 195); 1B/P Danny Heenan (So., 5-11, 160).

Outlook: The Irish return a good nucleus of starters, but the lack of depth in the pitching rotation could come back to haunt the team. Sophomore Danny Heenan hopes to build on a solid freshman campaign. The versatile Chris Mayr returns for his junior season after batting .303 last season.

BURKE COUNTY

Coach: Donald Wheeler, 1st year

1999 record: 10-15

Returning starters: 2B Joseph Miles (Jr., 5-9, 155); OF/P/SS Andy Gray (Sr., 5-10, 160); 1B Dean Jockel (Sr., 6-1, 180); 3B/P Jonathan Broxton (So., 6-2, 230).

Outlook: Last year's assistant coach Donald Wheeler takes over as head coach with some big holes to fill. The good news is sophomore Jonathan Broxton returns after a stellar freshman campaign, when he finished 6-3 and pitched five complete games. One of the leading offensive producers, Andy Gray, is back to spark the offensive attack.

BUTLER

Coach: Ricky Peace, 2nd year

1999 record: 5-19

Returning starters: 3B Matt Dodgen (Sr., 6-4, 170); OF David Flanders (Sr., 6-0, 165); 2B/P/C Brett Murphey (Sr., 5-9, 150); SS/P Daniel Owen (Sr., 6-1, 160); 1B/P Chris Ranew (Sr., 6-4, 175); OF Isaac West (Sr., 6-0, 160).

Outlook: Butler struggled to a 5-19 record in 1999, but the good news is six returning starters, all seniors, return. Leading hitter Chris Ranew, who batted .364 last season, returns to spark the offense. The Bulldogs could better last year's record if the pitching staff can step forward.

CROSS CREEK

Coach: Bob Polewski, 1st year

1999 record: New school

Returning starters: No returning starters

Outlook: Look for the Razorbacks to take their lumps early but by the end of the season, Cross Creek could surprise some teams in Region 3-AAA.

EVANS

Coach: Chris Segraves, 5th year

1999 record: 23-7

Returning starters: OF Kenny Ludlow (Sr., 5-11, 175); OF Jamal Jones (Sr., 5-11, 170); 3B/C Brandon Barenie (Jr., 5-10, 170), 1B Mike Jones (Sr., 6-1, 205); C Mike Lee (Sr., 5-11, 165); P Wes Ward (Sr., 6-0, 180); OF Darren Radcliff (Sr., 5-11, 170).

Outlook: The Knights suffered a serious blow when ace pitcher Steve Dunham was ruled ineligible. However, if some young pitchers can step forward, the Knights could equal or better last year's success. Evans boasts possibly the best outfield in the area with Kenny Ludlow, Jamal Jones and Darren Radcliff. Jones has emerged as one of the best leadoff hitters in the Southeast while Ludlow's power will be heavily depended on. Starting catcher Mike Lee is back after a season-ending injury last season.

GLASCOCK COUNTY

Coach: Don Mims, 3rd year

1999 record: 4-15

Returning starters: P/1B Chad Coxville (Sr., 6-3, 190); SS John Albright (Jr., 5-9, 160); C Brian Williford (So., 5-9, 160); 2B Ryan Brooks (Sr., 6-0, 170); OF Kyle Downs (Jr., 5-11, 160); INF John Hadden (So., 6-2, 185); OF Glyn Thomas (So., 5-10, 160).

Outlook: This could be the year the Panthers baseball team breaks out. Chad Coxville returns a wealth of experience on the hill and sophomore Glyn Thomas is much improved. Junior John Albright returns at shortstop and should anchor the infield.

GLENN HILLS

Coach: Walter Taylor, 4th year

1999 record: 2-18

Returning starters: P/SS Freddie Williams (Jr., 5-11, 165); C/P/3B David McMahon (Jr., 5-10, 175); 2B/SS Antoinne Glover (Jr., 6-0, 175); Of Ramon Adams (Jr., 6-1, 180); P/1B/OF Chris Tate (So., 6-0, 170); P/OF/SS Chris Demons (So., 6-0, 175).

Outlook: The Spartans don't have any seniors, but a strong class of juniors is expected to help Glenn Hills greatly improve on last season. However, the Spartans have to learn to survive in a tough region. If they find some depth on the mound, they could surprise some teams.

GREENBRIER

Coach: Ed Williams, 1st year

1999 record: 29-5-1

Returning starters: 2B/P Bradley Key (Jr., 5-11, 165); SS Jon Johnson (Sr., 6-2, 200); C/3B Sean Tiernan (Sr., 5-11, 180); 1B/P Craig Davis (Sr., 6-5, 220); 1B/DH Chad Thornhill (Jr., 6-2, 207); C Zach Campbell (Sr., 6-1, 175).

Outlook: Assistant coach Ed Williams takes over for coach Terry Holder. Once again, the Wolfpack returns a wealth of talent, including the entire starting infield. Junior Bradley Key will anchor the pitching rotation after an 11-1 campaign last year. However, the question is, can the Wolfpack find some young pitchers to step forward? Sophomore Philip Tapley is back after going 6-0 last season and showing a lot of promise. Also returning is as senior Jaime Parker who was 5-0. Greenbrier made history last season, becoming the first school in Georgia history to win three straight titles in its first three seasons. Could No. 4 be next?

HARLEM

Coach: Jimmie Lewis, 22nd year

1999 record: 30-8

Returning starters: P Chuck Harrington (Sr., 6-1, 198); C Bob Hatcher (Jr., 5-8, 165); OF/P Justin Sheppard (Jr., 6-1, 205); P Chris Woods (Sr., 5-11, 190).

Outlook: The Bulldogs lost six seniors from last year's Class AA state runner-up team. There are some holes to fill in the lineup, but several key underclassmen should fill those roles nicely. The good news is that all three starting pitchers, seniors Chuck Harrington and Chris Woods, who were a combined 19-2 last season, and junior Justin Sheppard are back. Bob Hatcher was one of the team's leading hitters last season and is one of the area's top catchers. If some underclassmen step forward, Harlem could go deep in the state playoffs once again.

HEPHZIBAH

Coach: Wade White, 2nd year

1999 record: 8-13

Returning starters: P/2B Zack Livley (Sr., 6-0, 155); CF Tavarius Maxwell (Sr., 6-2, 170); 1B Sean Myers (Sr., 5-10, 170); SS Bobby Shafer (Sr., 5-10, 150); OF B.J. Gibson (Jr., 5-10, 160); OF/P Thomas Payton (So., 6-0, 150); 3B Nick Kitchens (Jr., 5-10, 150); P Adam Thomas (Sr., 6-0, 150).

Outlook: A good nucleus of seniors as well as a strong group of underclassmen could have the Rebels contending for a state playoff berth. Last year's leading hitter, Tavarius Maxwell is back to anchor the outfield, while ace pitcher Zack Livley will be heavily depended on early. Hephzibah could be a sleeper this season.

JEFFERSON COUNTY

Coach: Mark Ethridge, 3rd year

1999 record: 12-13

Returning starters: P/INF Craig Norton (Sr., 6-4, 200); P/INF Kyle Amerson (Jr., 6-1, 175); P/OF Anthony Dukes (Jr., 6-2, 170); INF Drew Wren (So., 5-9, 160); P/INF Kyle Moore (Sr., 5-10, 170); C Nathan James (Sr., 5-11, 175); P/INF Matt Guy (Jr., 6-1, 200).

Outlook: Jefferson County got hot at the end of the season last year and gave state runner-up Harlem a stern test in the region playoffs before Harlem won the series in three games. The Warriors lost only three starters and could be even better in 2000. Jefferson returns its top two pitchers, Craig Norton and Kyle Amerson. If the Warriors can find a way to increase their offensive production, Jefferson could make its first trip to the state tournament.

JENKINS COUNTY

Coach: Chuck Sanders, 4th year

1999 record: 17-11

Returning starters: SS/P Will Newton (Sr., 6-0, 170); CF/P Drew Dudley (Sr., 5-9, 180); 2B/P Jeremy Dailey (Sr., 6-0, 145); 1B Jamar Dunnum (Sr., 6-1, 225); LF/P Andre Evans (Sr., 5-11, 165).

Outlook: The Eagles lost eight seniors (three of them were four-year starters) from last season's state playoff team. The good news is that Jenkins returns one of best players around in shortstop/pitcher Will Newton. Centerfielder/pitcher Drew Dudley also returns to spark the offense.

LAKESIDE

Coach: Jimmy Smith, 13th year

1999 record: 17-11

Returning starters: OF Tim Wixson (Sr., 5-9, 160); P Mike Norland (Jr., 6-4, 210); 1B Quin Lunsford (Jr., 6-3, 190); C Parker Dye (So., 6-0, 180).

Outlook: The Panthers will have six new starters in the lineup on opening day. The good news is pitcher Mike Norland returns to anchor the rotation while catcher Parker Dye will attempt to build on a sensational freshman campaign. Tim Wixson's speed in the outfield will be depended on heavily. However, Lakeside must have some underclassmen to step up if it expects to get in the region playoffs.

LINCOLN COUNTY

Coach: Billy Beale, 16th year

1999 record: 13-13

Returning starters: 1B Eugene Bryant (Sr., 6-3, 190); 2B/P Scott Beale (Jr., 5-11, 165); SS/P Andrew Smalley (Jr., 5-11, 155); 3B Allory Norman (Jr., 5-7, 180); C Jesse Carmichael (So., 5-11, 185); C Matthew Kirkland (Jr., 5-9, 135); C Vilas Brooks ( Jr., 6-0, 205); OF/P Franklin Gartrell (Sr., 5-3, 124); OF Marcus Sherman (Sr., 6-1, 150).

Outlook: Lincoln County should get back to form after a mediocre 1999 campaign. A solid group of starters return, including third baseman Allory Norman and second baseman Scott Beale. The pitching staff should be solid with the return of junior hurler Andrew Smalley, who was 4-2 last season.

RICHMOND ACADEMY

Coach: Jaime Echols, 1st year

1999 record: 5-16

Returning starters: P/SS Tim Grooms (Sr., 5-7, 160); SS/2B Will Mills (Sr., 5-7, 165).

Outlook: The Musketeers started out strong last season before fizzing out toward the end. ARC returns just two starters, and former assistant Jaime Echols takes over as the head coach. The team has a strong work ethic, but as many as six sophomores could be in the lineup on opening day.

SCREVEN COUNTY

Coach: J.T. Pollock, 3rd year

1999 record: 21-10

Returning starters: P/1B Macay McBride (Jr., 5-11, 180); C Tyler McCabe (Jr., 6-2, 190); 2B Donald Sheppard (Jr., 5-9, 160); SS Lee Smoak (Sr., 5-9, 160); P/1B Josh Oglesby (Jr., 6-0, 175); LF Trenton Beard (Sr., 5-9, 165); CF Tyrone Mingle (Sr., 6-0, 180).

Outlook: Don't be surprised to see the Gamecocks go deep in the state playoffs. With one of the better pitching staffs in the area with Macay McBride and Josh Oglesby along with sophomore Dallas LeMaster, the Gamecocks should pick right up where they left off last year. Catcher Tyler McCabe , along with solid infielders Lee Smoak and Donald Sheppard, all return.

SWAINSBORO

Coach: Hank Aldridge, 19th year

1999 record: 20-9

Returning starters: SS/3B Henry Hall (Sr., 6-1, 185); P Robby Kasper (Sr., 6-3, 180); C Rhett Womack (Jr., 5-11, 175); P/1B/OF Raymond Alford (Jr., 5-11, 175); CF Brandon Andrews (Jr., 5-10, 190); 3B Ashley Hooks (Jr., 5-11, 155); 2B Nate Smith (Jr., 5-7, 160); OF/1B Kyle Palmer (Jr., 6-3, 190).

Outlook: If the Tigers can survive in a tough baseball region, don't be surprised to see the Tigers go deep in the playoffs. Robby Kasper and Raymond Alford anchor a tough pitching rotation, while the versatile Henry Hall is one of the few seniors on a relatively young team. Leading hitter Rhett Womack returns at catcher.

THOMSON

Coach: Mike Santagata, 1st year

1999 record: 14-12

Returning starters: CF Nathan Hall (Sr., 5-8, 165); P Josh Simmons (Sr., 5-10, 155).

Outlook: Former assistant Mike Santagata takes over as the Bulldogs' new coach with some big holes to fill. Thomson lost 12 seniors from last season, including its entire infield and almost its entire outfield. The good news is, pitcher Josh Simmons returns after a solid 1999 campaign. Nathan Hall was strong in the outfield last season and will be heavily depended on this season.

WASHINGTON COUNTY

Coach: John Arnold, 3rd year

1999 record: 11-10

Returning starters: C/1B Caleb Lord (Sr., 6-2, 195); 2B Lance Hancock (So., 5-10, 130); 3B/P Jason Lindsey (Sr., 6-3, 180); LF/P Justin Hancock (Sr., 6-0, 170); CF/P Eric Thigpen (Jr., 5-11, 165); RF/P Trey Binion (Jr., 6-1, 175).

Outlook: The Golden Hawks have a good nucleus to build on, including six returning starters. But the bad news is the Golden Hawks must replace ace pitcher Aaron Archer who graduated. Junior Trey Binion, who showed promise last season on the hill, appears to be the likely candidate. Leading hitter Justin Hancock returns for his senior campaign.

WASHINGTON-WILKES

Coach: Dwayne Sapp, 3rd year

1999 record: 23-5

Returning starters: C Bo Bray (Sr., 6-0, 200); OF/2B Adam Winfrey (Sr., 5-8, 165); 1B Adam Thornton (Sr., 6-2, 280).

Outlook: Washington-Wilkes lost all three of its starting pitchers -- Matt Bailey, Jason Silvey and Blake Winfrey -- to graduation. If the Tigers want to approach last year's success, they must have some pitching. Returners Bo Bray, Adam Winfrey and Adam Thornton all batted over .400 last season.

WESTSIDE

Coach: Gerald Barnes, 25th year

1999 record: 14-12

Returning starters: C Ryan Nevils (Sr., 6-1, 200); P/OF Matt Nixon (Sr., 6-1, 180); OF Kurt Williams (Sr., 5-9, 165); OF Scott Bryant (Sr., 5-10, 170); 2B Joe Kroger (Sr., 5-10, 160); OF Matt LeZotte (Sr., 6-3, 185); INF Tyler Wiley (So., 5-9, 170).

Outlook: The Patriots return a good nucleus to make a run at the state playoffs. If Westside can find some young pitchers to go along with ace Matt Nixon, the Patriots could have their best season since 1996. Catcher Ryan Nevils is back behind the plate, and the outfield should be solid with Kurt Williams, Scott Bryant and Matt LeZotte returning.

The following schools did not return surveys to The Augusta Chronicle: Josey, Laney.