Posted: 10:27 am Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

Baseball: Dacula senior starts at six positions; updates on Westminster, Calhoun, Hawkinsville, Mount Paran 

By Todd Holcomb

Dacula senior Dallas Richards is a natural shortstop, but utility man might be the best description for a player who might be on his way to playing all nine positions this season. Richards already has started games at six positions, all but pitcher, catcher and first base. He has made a relief appearance, leaving only two positions he has not played.

We have moved him out of necessity due to injuries and illness, and he has performed
amazingly at all seven positions,’’ Dacula baseball coach John Poitevint. “With this in mind, if we have a chance and
it does not jeopardize the game, or the integrity of the game, and I cannot
imagine Dallas not being able to, we plan to play him at catcher and first base in some games.’’

That would make Richards the first player in Poitevint’s 26 seasons as a baseball coach to play all nine positions.

Richards, who has committed to Piedmont College, is batting .280 (.440 OBA) and hasn’t allowed a run in three innings pitched.

Dakota Sloan, a junior, he’s hitting .421. He also six doubles and 12 of the team’s 21 extra-base hits. Hawkinsville has other good hitters, though. Among them are Alec Mays (.452) and Jonathan McDaniel (.441).

In other updates …

Westminster is 10-3 and ranked No. 2 in Class AA and lost a 1-0 decision in five innings to No. 1 Buford of AAA on Saturday. Westminster has four preseason all-state players, per Dugout Club Preview Magazine. They are senior center fielder Jake Johnson (committed to Notre Dame), senior right fielder McClain Bradley (Wofford), senior right-handed pitcher Conrad Cornell (uncommitted) and junior first baseman Connor Stutts (Notre Dame verbal). Westminster’s three-man rotation consists of Cornell (3-1, 3.15 ERA), junior Hunter Davis (5-0, 1.59 ERA, Duke verbal) and senior Luke Johnson (2-1, 0.58 ERA, Butler). Luke’s twin brother, center fielder Jake Johnson, is hitting .421 with two home runs and 11 steals. Stutts is hitting .371. Senior third baseman Jake Forte, who is going to Harvard as a quarterback, is batting .394. Two sophomores are playing regularly. Catcher Rankin Woley and outfielder/first baseman Will Benson are being recruiting by SEC and ACC schools. Westminster starts Region 6-AA play this week with a three-game set against Greater Atlanta Christian, then three games next week against Lovett in a rematch of the AA state championship series won by Lovett.

Calhoun, a state champion as recently as 2010, is 11-1 and ranked No. 6 in AA. The Yellow Jackets play  Pepperell (7-8, 5-1) on Tuesday for first place in Region 5-AA. Pepperell made the AA semifinals last season. Calhoun is largely a senior team. Its leading hitters, all seniors, are catcher Weston McArthur (.412), third baseman/pitcher Jon Register (.424), first baseman Brett Peek (.394), and shortstop Avery Johnson (.367). Register, who has signed with Snead State, also is a pitcher. He’s 2-0 and hasn’t allowed an earned run in 11.2 innings. He’s struck out 20. The top two pitchers in innings have been juniors John Alan Kendrick (3-1, 1.80) and Spencer Cross (2-0, 0.00). Both are good hitters. Cross is batting .379. Kendrick is batting .303 with a team-leading four doubles.

Mount Paran Christian, the Class A private runner-up last season, is ranked fourth and perhaps still the leading contender to dethrone defending champ Eagle’s Landing Christian. That’s despite a 15-3 loss last  week to Westminster, the second-ranked team in AA. Junior center fielder Isaac Phillips has four of the team’s seven home runs and is hitting .417. Also batting over .400 are Landon Faulkner (.550) Jake Palomaki (.531), Matt Norton (.474). Palomaki, a shortstop, has signed to play at Boston College. Faulkner has signed with Chattahoochee Valley Community College.

One of the leading Class A public contenders is Hawkinsville. Junior Dakota Sloan, also the quarterback on the football team, has all six of the team’s home runs and 12 of the team’s 31 extra-base hits. He’s hitting .405. Also hitting pretty well are Royce Owens (.531), Jonathan McDaniel (.472) and Alec Mays (.489). Hawkinsville lost in the first round to Trion last season.

The baseball blog runs on Tuesdays and Fridays. If you have newsworthy material on Georgia high school baseball, or news of your team, please e-mail to Todd at ghsfdaily@bellsouth.net.

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