Prep Zone: High School Sports blog 

AJC updates from the world of high school sports in metro Atlanta and Georgia

Baseball: Milton star P/SS Cease to return this week … Updates on Hardaway, St. Pius, Houston County

  • 1:26 pm Tuesday, April 15th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Milton pitcher Dylan Cease, a major league prospect with a fastball that has reached the high-90s, will return to the Eagles’ lineup this week, but probably not as a pitcher or even a shortstop for another month, Milton coach Joey Ray said Tuesday.

Cease, who is committed to Vanderbilt, has been limited to 12 innings pitched since suffering pain in his throwing elbow a month ago.

A shortstop when not on the mound, he’s batting .343 with two home runs in 35 at-bats. He’ll be limited to a DH role until his elbow gets healthy. No structural damage was found.

The defending Class [More]

Baseball: UGA signee leads No. 1 Jefferson … Lambert tops USA Today rankings … Hansen gets 300th win … Etowah wins in 15 innings …

  • 12:13 pm Friday, April 11th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Jefferson’s best finishes in the state playoffs have been runs to the semifinals in 2001, 2002 and 2007. Coach Tommy Knight has the Dragons ranked No. 1 this week in Class AA after an 8-6 victory over Wesleyan, the team that knocked them out of the playoffs in the second round a year ago.

Knight believes this team has deeper pitching than those that made the semifinals.

‘’It’s just a matter of if we can swing the bat enough,’’ Knight said. “Pitching has been the mainstay. In the playoffs, you see those good pitchers, and you have to figure it out and [More]

Baseball: Lambert wins Memphis tourney … Updates on Charlton County, Coffee, Heard Co. … Arcade stats from Cedar Grove shortstop, Parkview, NW Whitfield pitchers

  • 10:52 am Tuesday, April 8th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Lambert won the USA Classic in Memphis last week with victories over No. 1-ranked teams in Arkansas and Tennessee. Lambert beat Fayetteville (Ark.) 7-2 in the championship game. Thomas Kubiak threw five shutout innings, and Jake Chickowski went 3-for-3 with a double and three RBI. Seth Beer was 2-for-3 with two doubles, and Nick Guimbarda was 2-for-2 with a triple. J.D. Dutka was the tournament MVP. He went 4-for-13 with a double and a triple, and he pitched the semifinal, a victory over Christian Brothers Academy of Tennessee. He struck out seven. He got a save in a first-round victory [More]

Baseball: Retiring Redan coach wins 500th … Wesleyan stuns Lovett … Westminster poised to take top spot … First Presbyterian OF goes 5-for-5 … Blessed Trinity, Loganville on winning streaks … North Paulding ace wins five straight

  • 9:14 am Friday, April 4th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Redan coach Marvin Pruitt got his 500th victory this week in a 14-0 victory over Banneker. Pruitt’s record is 501-329-6 after beating Therrell 15-0 on Thursday. The only other head coach in DeKalb County with 500 victories in any sport is retired Columbia boys basketball coach Phil McCrary. Pruitt, who is retiring after this season, Redan to the Class AAAAA championship last season. His first head-coaching job came in 1983, when he led Lakeside to the state semifinals.

No. 1-ranked Lovett of Class AA was stunned on Thursday when Wesleyan, ranked No. 8, came from 9-1 down to beat the Lions [More]

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

  • 10:27 am Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 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, [More]

Baseball notebook: Georgia teams play in USA Invitational … Schmidt dominant for ALlatoona … Pitching carries Greenbrier … Columbia ace has 0.00 ERA …

  • 9:59 am Friday, March 28th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Milton, Parkview and Gainesville are in Cary, N.C., this weekend for the USA National High School Invitational, the premier national high school tournament in the country.

Parkview pitcher Mac Marshall, a lefthander committed to LSU, pitched a two-hit shutout Thursday in a 2-0 victory over Venice.

Marshall is 5-0 with an 0.00 ERA over 27 innings. He’s struck out 38. Parkview, which lost its opening game 6-1 to Regis Jesuit of Colorado, is 10-3 and ranked No. 2 in Class AAAAAA.

Milton is 2-1 lost to First Academy of Florida, beat Alison Niguel (Calif.) 3-2 and Mountain Point (Ariz.) 2-1. Gainesville [More]

No. 1 Marist gets it done without the home run

  • 7:38 am Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Marist is showing that the home run shouldn’t be the first thing you look for in a winning baseball team. The War Eagles have hit only one in 13 games. They’re ranked No. 1 in Class AAAA.

‘’We’re not going to hit very many,’’ Marist coach Mike Strickland said. “We’re not going to score multiple runs on one swing. That’s not who we are, and that’s fine.’’

Especially if you’ve got outstanding pitching and defense. Those are making the three-run homer obsolete.

What Marist does have is a starting rotation of three Division 1 signees. Two  also play outfield and swing the bat well.

Notre Dame signee [More]

Baseball ticker: Secret to No. 1 Whitewater … Mill Creek pitcher sizzles … Sprayberry slugger hitting .658 … Beer rated top sophomore …

  • 10:51 am Friday, March 21st, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

If any Georgia baseball team has bruised knuckles from knocking at the door, it’s Whitewater.

The Wildcats have reached the state semifinals five straight times. They’re looking for their first championship.

The current team is 11-0 and ranked No. 1 in Class AAAAA under first-year coach Rusty Bennett, who came from Decatur and replaced Mark Jones, who got out of coaching.

‘’We’re just playing well top to bottom,’’ Bennett said. “We took on the motto of not singling anybody out, playing for each other. That’s what they’ve bought into from day one.’’

Pitching is the key ingredient. Ten pitchers have gotten innings, and the [More]

Baseball: Lambert (8-0) is a contender … ELCA OF rated No. 1 junior … Newnan rebuilds

  • 11:13 am Friday, March 14th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Lambert’s baseball program is only 5-years-old, but it appears ready to make a run at a state title this year. The Longhorns (8-0) are the No. 1-ranked team in Class AAAAAA.

They’re balanced – hitting .383 with a 1.37 ERA – and they’re young.

Sophomore right fielder/pitcher Seth Beer is 17-for-22 (.773) with four doubles and two home runs. He’s 1-0 as a pitcher with eight strikeouts in 5.1 innings.

Junior third baseman/pitcher J.D. Dutka is 12-for-29 (.414) and six extra-base hits. He’s 3-0 with a 0.39 ERA.

Junior left fielder Jeremy Johnson is 8-for-18 (.444). Also hitting well are sophomore catcher Kyle McCann [More]

Tift County boys carry flag of South Georgia into AAAAAA final

  • 10:13 am Friday, March 7th, 2014 by Todd Holcomb

Tift County’s boys basketball team will be carrying the pride of South Georgia into Saturday’s Class AAAAAA championship game against Wheeler.

No South Georgia team has won the title in the highest class since Savannah in 1998.

‘’I know a lot of people want us to get it done,’’ Tift County coach Eric Holland said. “It would be a huge victory for the entire region and would give South Georgia kids a vote of confidence and respect in the years to come.’’

Tift County has some history of its own. The Blue Devils won the Class AAAA title in 1996 under Tommy Blackshear [More]