Originally created 11/11/05

Poythress signs deal with Dogs



Greenbrier senior first baseman Rich Poythress sealed a year-long verbal decision to play for the University of Georgia by officially signing with the Bulldogs Thursday morning.

In front of a crowd at Greenbrier High School that included classmates, teammates, teachers, and family, Poythress became the third Wolfpack baseball player to sign with Georgia.

"It's fun to see your hard work pay off," Poythress said. "I've always wanted to play in the SEC."

The senior has started for the Wolfpack since his freshman year and led all Columbia County hitters last season with 13 home runs.

"He's been blessed with a lot of talent," Greenbrier coach Ed Williams said. "Any time you have a kid sign like this, it's good for the program."

Georgia baseball coach David Perno was unable to attend the signing, but did congratulate Poythress by phone.

Perno said with starting junior first baseman Josh Morris a potential candidate for the 2006 Major League Baseball Draft, Poythress could quickly become a regular at first base.

"We're obviously excited to sign Rich," Perno said. "He's a big, strong kid that can move and has some athleticism."

Before Poythress can take the diamond for the Bulldogs, he still has his senior year at Greenbrier to complete.

The Bulldogs finished 16-7 last season and narrowly missed the state playoffs.

"We've got a lot of guys coming back," Poythress said. "We should do big things this year."

Poythress said scouts from the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds have expressed interest for the 2006 draft, but regardless of what his senior year holds, the Greenbrier star said there's an added bonus to signing with Georgia.

"I'm just happy I'll have a 'G' on my hat for four more years," he said.

Reach Billy Byler at (706) 863-6165 ext. 116 or billy.byler@augustachronicle.com.