Ace picks Gamecocks

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Nolan Belcher wins games with what's in his head and his arm.

Greenbrier pitcher Nolan Belcher, who has won three state titles in his prep career, will play for South Carolina after he graduates.  Chris Thelen/Staff
Chris Thelen/Staff
Greenbrier pitcher Nolan Belcher, who has won three state titles in his prep career, will play for South Carolina after he graduates.

He's the area's most successful prep pitcher. He's also the most cerebral. His own scientific method about where he should play college baseball has led him to South Carolina.

The three-time Augusta Chronicle Player of the Year will be a Gamecock.

"It was a lot of things," Belcher said over the phone from a summer league practice in Tampa, Fla. "I'm already a (South Carolina pitching coach) Mike Navi guy. I like (head coach) Ray Tanner. I like the fact they are getting a new stadium. I also wanted to stay to play in the (Southeastern Conference). All those things were factors in a really good fit."

Belcher said the decision to pick the Gamecocks over Georgia Tech was the toughest of his life. It was even tougher than his switch from Augusta Christian to public school baseball at Greenbrier prior to the 2005-2006 academic year, which led to three state championships and a stat line any major league hopeful would take in a minute.

"Playing at Greenbrier really helped me," Belcher said, who's 35-1 in his prep career. "I'm not sure I would've gotten the same opportunities if I would've stayed at Augusta Christian. It all worked out. Doing well at Greenbrier opened doors to play in certain prestigious summer tournaments."

Belcher said he thought hard about attending Georgia Tech and Georgia, where his teammates have moved on to play. Brandon Cumpton and Jeff Rowland are heading to Tech. Former Greenbrier standout Rich Poythress just completed a solid freshman year at Georgia.

"They all were working on me to join them," Belcher said. "But in the end it wasn't that I wanted to go my own way. South Carolina was just the best place for me."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.

Comments (8) Add comment
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ashleyb
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ashleyb 07/24/07 - 06:12 am
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Belcher & Mart Gatt together

Belcher & Mart Gatt together for at least 3 years...Could be scary for opposing SEC Teams. Congrats on the decision and good luck.

Ashley Brown

ashleyb
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ashleyb 07/24/07 - 06:13 am
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Gantt, sorry would not let me

Gantt, sorry would not let me edit.

bp101
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bp101 07/24/07 - 08:35 am
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I am a David Perno and UGA

I am a David Perno and UGA fan and it worries me a little that two of the best pitchers in the state did not even consider UGA and are now headed out of state to a major rival!!!

rgantt1
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rgantt1 07/24/07 - 08:45 am
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congrats to nolan even though

congrats to nolan even though i would have love to see him go to g.tech w/jeffrey rowland and brandon cumpton and win some acc championships!! georgia should have recruited all these players but it looks like the schools that really worked hard are the ones getting rewarded!

papadawg3
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papadawg3 07/24/07 - 09:31 am
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Nolan Congratulation and

Nolan Congratulation and good luck at Carolina. There are always many issues to consider when making a decision on one school or the other. I bleed the red and black and was hoping you would take the Bulldogs offer, but I support you 100%. Good luck and I will see you next season at the Brier-Patch.. Bob Lane

mbjacket81
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mbjacket81 07/24/07 - 02:30 pm
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Congratulations on your

Congratulations on your decision but I'm sure Danny Hall would have loved to have you at Georgia Tech. However, Augusta wishes you the best of luck and beat those Bulldogs!

mmedawson
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mmedawson 07/24/07 - 04:31 pm
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Nolan, Congrats from your

Nolan, Congrats from your former French teacher. Smart boy, you picked a great school--Go Cocks! Carolina is not only getting a great athlete but a stellar student.

wildman
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wildman 07/25/07 - 04:34 am
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I hope the best for Nolan,

I hope the best for Nolan, just not SC.

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