Posted: 11:13 am Friday, April 18th, 2014
Baseball: Wesleyan’s deceptive 9-9 record … 4 straight shutouts for Benedictine … Attaboy to Atterbury … Mundy’s Mill dual-sport star …
By Todd Holcomb
Wesleyan’s baseball team is only 9-9 overall, 5-3 in Region 6-AA, but ranked No. 5 and considered dangerous to anyone who follows Class AA closely.
Wesleyan – which started the season 0-5 – has played six Class AAAAAA schools, plus region rivals Westminster (ranked No. 2) and defending AA champion Lovett (No. 8) and No. 1-ranked Jefferson of 8-AA.
Wesleyan lost 13-5 to Westminster on Thursday, but it was an extra-innings game in which Westminster scored nine runs in the final frame. Wesleyan will play the Wildcats again Saturday. Wesleyan has been hot since spring break.
‘’We do not play over spring break because the school wants students to be able to attend mission trips rather than feel forced to remain with their spring team, so we use spring break as the start of a new season for those who have not had the start they had wanted,’’ said Wesleyan coach Brian Krehmeyer.
Spring break also marked a turn from non-region games to region games. Wesleyan started by sweeping three games from Greater Atlanta Christian, effectively knocking GAC out of the Top 10, and then taking two of three from Lovett.
“So I like where we are right now, but it took some time to mesh these guys into a team and help everyone identify their roles,’’ Krehmeyer said.
Jahmai Jones, a top prospect in the MLB Draft, is batting .429 (18-for-42 with five home runs and seven stolen bases. Also over .300 are Will Collins (.375), Jake McCleskey (.345) and Colin Hall (.322). The pitching workhorse has been Andrew Sauer (4-2, 1.52 ERA) over 46 innings.
In other baseball news …
Westminster’s McClain Bradley (signed with Wofford) was 4-for-5 with three RBI in the Wesleyan game. He’s 6-for-11 over the past week. Rankin Worley has had two hits in each of the past three games. He’s 6-for-10 with a double and a home run over the past three games.
Benedictine, ranked sixth in AA, has pitched four straight shutouts with three pitchers, all underclassmen. On Friday, April 11, in a 14-0 victory over Vidalia, sophomore Chipper Wiley (6-1, 0.91 ERA) threw a five-inning complete-game no-hitter while striking out five. Wiley also batted 3-for-3 with four RBI. On Saturday, Benedictine defeated Atkinson County 10-0 in six innings. Junior Al Pesto (4-2, 1.73 ERA) threw a one-hitter while striking out five. He has 47 strikeouts in 32.1 innings. On Wednesday, Benedictine defeated Bacon County 10-0 in five innings. Junior Stevie Powers (5-1, 1.40 ERA) threw a one-hitter while striking out 13. Powers was throwing a perfect game before giving up a bloop single with one out in the top of the 5th inning. He has struck out 60 in 40 innings. On Thursday, Wiley came back and pitched a five-inning shutout, an 11-0 win over Toombs County. Wiley gave up four hits and recorded eight strikeouts. He also had 4 RBI at the plate.
Milton pitcher/shortstop Dylan Cease, a Vanderbilt signee and MLB Draft prospect, apparently will need another week or so before he returns to the lineup for the defending Class AAAAAA champions. Coach Joey Ray had said earlier this week that he expected him back this week as a hitter only. Cease has been shut down since suffering elbow soreness a month ago. No structural damage was found. “He has received different opinions on whether he should hit from different doctors,’’ Ray said Friday. “I was genuinely under the impression he was going to be playing by today, but based on the differing opinions it look like we are going to give him another 10 days or so. He is pretty upset and wants to play, but we are just trying to do what’s best for him.’’ Milton is 15-7 overall, 6-2 in Region 5-AAAAAA.
Columbia junior Jalen Atterbury continues to be one of the state’s better dual-threat (pitcher/hitter) players. He’s batting .455 (30-for-66) with six triples and 32 stolen bases. As a pitcher, he’s 7-1 with 0.38 ERA. He has 49 strikeouts in 37.1 innings. Atterbury is not the leading hitter on Columbia’s 19-4 team, however. Also hitting over .400 are Ronald McGhee (.492, eight doubles), Keeshun Clark (.462, five triples), Trent Nash (.435, nine doubles) and Justin Washington (.429). All are juniors.
Mundy’s Mill senior Rodney Smith, better known as an all-state running back who has signed with Minnesota, is also a star baseball player. Smith, a shortstop and center fielder on the diamond, is batting .578 (26-of-45) with eight doubles and four triples. He’s stolen 14 bases and never been caught. He’s even pitched an inning. Mundy’s Mill is 6-12 overall and 5-9 in Region 4-AAAA.
Terrell County freshman Detravion Bishop is 5-0 with a 3.19 ERA and batting .610 (25-for-41) with five extra-base hits and 26 stolen bases. A slender 6-foot-3, Bishop plays quarterback on the football team and guard on the basketball team.
Salem junior utility player Jordan Scott has been a bright spot for Salem during an otherwise disappointing season for the 7-15 Seminoles. Scott, a five-tool switch hitter who normally beats leadoff, leads the team in nearly every statistical category, including batting average. He is hitting .444 from the left side and .365 from the right. Scott has offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, Miami, West Virginia and The Citadel, among others.
First Presbyterian Day junior third baseman Tyler Stubbs is hitting .481 with 20 runs scored and seven extra-base hits on a team that is 13-5 overall, 10-1 in Region 7-A. FPD plays at Turner Field on Saturday against Warner Robins (1:10 p.m.). Jones County plays at Veterans at 4 p.m.