I must admit this is a story I am happy to be writing.
Former Lakeside High School baseball standout Kody Belcher is off to an incredible start at USC Aiken this season.
It is Belcher’s first season with the Pacers after a stellar prep career for the Panthers, which included a trip to the state championship series in 2010. That season, Belcher emerged as a legitimate professional prospect as he hit .425 with six HR and 35 RBI. He also scored 42 runs and swiped 11 bases as he led Lakeside to a school-record 29 wins.
The team struggled in 2011 after losing its head coach and a half dozen key players to graduation.
Belcher still managed to hit .430 as a senior, and after getting passed over in the draft he left the area to play for D-I Kennesaw State.
He played sparingly, but was productive as a freshman, although last season he endured an extremely tough campaign.
He battled through an injury and just did not seem himself. He played in just 25 games, making 12 starts. For the season, he hit just .128 (6 for 47).
Well, after the season he decided to transfer to USC Aiken. Of course, it did not hurt that his cousin, and Columbia County prep legend Nolan Belcher was joining the Pacers’ coaching staff.
Well, it is very early, but it appears the decision to transfer was a good one. USC Aiken is ranked No. 8 in the country and off to a 4-2 start.
One of those losses came against Tampa, the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. The Pacers have also posted a 10-5 victory over No. 5 Mount Olive.
Belcher was at his best against the tough competition. He went 3 for 4 with a walk vs. Tampa and was 1 for 2 with another walk vs. Mount Olive. That’s 4 for 6 with two base on balls against two of the top five teams in the nation with an on base percentage of .750 for the fleet-footed center fielder.
Yes, it seems clear that Belcher has found a home at the top of USC Aiken’s batting order.
Through five games his numbers are simply off the charts. He leads the team in batting average (.562), runs scored (9), stolen bases (7), and on base percentage (.696). He also has five base on balls, four RBI, and a pair of doubles on the young season.
On top of the impressive offensive production, Belcher has also played a terrific center field. From a young age, he has always been known for his outstanding glove in the outfield, and he certainly has not lost his touch. He has been perfect on 17 total chances and also has an outfield assist to his credit so far in 2014.
Yes, it appears that Kody Belcher has resurrected his once promising baseball career.
If he can keep this pace up, the pro scouts will have to reacquaint themselves with Kody in a hurry.
Belcher is not the only Columbia County native suiting up for USC Aiken this season. Here is a look at the Pacers who hail from Columbia County and how they have started the season:
Tyler Moore (sophomore, Evans). Hitting .320 with a home run and eight RBI (Hit a grand slam in the 10-5 win over Mount Olive). Has started all six games.
Derek Beasley (junior, Harlem). Has been outstanding in two starts on the mound. 1-0 with a perfect 0.00 ERA and eight Ks in 11 innings of work.
Ben Black (junior, Lakeside). Also has a 0.00 ERA in two appearances and four total innings of relief.
Hunter Hubbard (freshman, Lakeside). Another perfect 0.00 ERA. Hubbard has pitched in two games and a total of 1.1 innings.
Sam Daniel (junior, Greenbrier). Allowed two runs in one inning of work in his only appearance this season.