2014 was a strange year in Columbia County. Offense seemed to be way down, besides Greenbrier the won/loss record in the county was below our county’s high standards, and a couple of the county’s most gifted players did not finish the season due to injury or off field issues.
That said, we still had four of our five public schools earn state tournament berths and Greenbrier made another final four run. We also saw the emergence of a couple of players who were not mentioned on most pre-season all county lists. All in all it was another solid year on the diamond, and as always there were some players that deserve special recognition for their performance in 2014. So, here is your 2014 All-County Baseball Team.
Catcher: Joe Kortick (Sr. Lakeside)
Prior to the start of the season, Kortick would have likely been third or fourth on the list of catchers in the county. However, he edged out Brice Harrison of Evans and Jose Noqueras of Grovetown to make the First Team. Kortick hit .333 on the season with nine doubles and was one of the top clutch hitters in the county.
First Base: Adam Sasser (Jr. Greenbrier)
Sasser carried the Pack’s offense early in the year, and posted another terrific year at the plate. He just missed out on hitting over .400 for a second straight year with a .389 batting average. He smashed a county best 12 doubles and was second in the county in HR (8) and RBI (38), and on base percentage (.516). He also scored 33 runs, had a slugging percentage of .736 and an OPS of 1.253. Sasser had more extra base hits (20) than the entire Grovetown Team.
Second Base: Nick Sandlin (Jr. Greenbrier)
While Sandlin’s pitching was the talk of the county, he also had a great year at the plate. He hit .358, going 38 of 106. He also had seven doubles, four triples, a HR, and 21 RBI. That, of course, was on top of his remarkable 13-0 record on the mound.
Shortstop: Connor Hoover (Sr. Greenbrier)
North Georgia is getting a real gamer in Hoover. He earns First Team honors for a second straight year after hitting .302 and tying for the county lead in runs scored with 39. He also may have broken a county record (I’m still researching) in walks with an astonishing 45 bases on balls this year. That allowed him to post a county best .544 on base percentage. He also swiped nine bases.
Third Base: Knox Marchman (Sr. Greenbrier)
Marchman went through a swing change early in the year which caused his average to dip to .291. However, he more than made up for it with outstanding defense at the hot corner all year. He also still posted 30 hits, five doubles, a triple, a HR, and 21 RBI this season. In his four prep seasons, Greenbrier won 102 games, went to four consecutive Elite 8’s, and played in two championship series. Also, First Team All-Region and has signed to play at East Georgia.
Outfield: Bryson Serigney (Sr. Harlem)
Serigney was a bright spot on a Harlem team that struggled offensively. The Bulldogs only had one player hit over .277 and managed only 26 extra base hits in 735 plate appearances. Serigney, on the other hand, hit .343 with five doubles, a HR, and 18 RBI. He also had an on base percentage of .483. On the mound he was outstanding as well. He was just 4-5, but sported an ERA of 2.59 and struck out 70 batters in just 56.2 innings. Will play at East Georgia next season.
Outfield: Chris Michals (Sr. Greenbrier)
Chris Michals was the hottest hitter in the state over the final month of the season. He was simply unconscious in the state playoffs. For the season, Michals won the county Triple Crown, hitting .410 with 10 home runs and 44 RBI. He also slugged eight doubles, three triples, and stole seven bases. He also had a county best 48 hits and tied for the county lead with 39 runs scored.
Outfield: Colin Dominy (Jr. Evans)
Dominy was a First Team All-Region performer after finishing Second on the team at EHS with a 329 batting average. He also produced seven doubles, 19 runs scored, and 13 RBI for the Knights. He will be counted on heavily next season.
Designated Hitter: Garrett Wilkerson (Jr. Evans)
Wilkerson has a smooth lefty stroke and used it to hit .323 with 30 hits on the season. He also scored 24 runs and had 14 RBIs from the leadoff spot. On the mound he was 4-5 with a 2.86 ERA. Opponents only hit .186 off him, but he struggled a little with his control, walking 46 batters in 44 innings.
Utility: Cameron Busby (Sr. Grovetown)
It would be a huge mistake to overlook what Busby did on the diamond this season. He hit .321 on a team that posted a .154 batting average, and also posted an on base percentage of .409. On the mound he was sensational. His record was 3-7, but in his 10 appearances, he had a county best 1.12 ER, allowing only 11 earned runs in 68.2 innings of work. He also struck out 82 batters and walked only 11 on the season. He was a First Team All-Region selection and has signed to play at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville.
Pitcher: Nick Sandlin (Jr. Greenbrier)
Sandlin was 13-0 on the mound with an era of 1.44 and 94 strike outs in 72.2 innings of work. Opposing batters hit just .140 off the sidearm and he yielded only 15 earned runs all year. He also only allowed 36 hits to the 293 batters he faced. As dominant as he was all season, Sandlin was able to put it in another gear in the playoffs.
Pitcher: David Rivera (Sr. Evans)
Rivera may not have had the hype of a couple of his Evans teammates, but you could make the argument that he was Evans’ most productive pitcher. He finished the year 5-1 with a 1.24 ERA. He also had 50 strike outs and just 19 walks in 45.1 innings of work and yielded a .154 batting average to opposing hitters. He was a First Team All-Region Choice.
Pitcher: Kyle Anderson (Jr. Evans)
Anderson did not put up the huge numbers many may have anticipated, but he was tremendous when he was on the mound. His won/loss record was only 3-3, but he posted the second best ERA in the county at 1.18, allowed a .146 batting average to the opposition, and struck out 58 batters in his 47.1 innings. He also was much improved with the bat in his hand, hitting a team best .373 on the season.
Pitcher: Connor Hogan (Soph. Greenbrier)
Hogan was overshadowed a bit by teammate Nick Sandlin, but the young right hander had a very solid season of his own. He finished the 9-3 with one save and a 2.53 ERA. He earned First Team All-Region honors and was a key to Greenbrier’s run to the Class AAAAA Final Four.
Second Team All-County
Catcher: Brice Harrison (Sr. Evans)
First Base: Michael Weiksner (Sr. Augusta Christian)
Infield: Chandler Coley (Sr. Lakeside)
Infield: Nate Pylant (Sr. Augusta Prep)
Third Base: Alec Watts (Sr. Evans)
Outfield: Kyle Cartledge (Sr. Augusta Christian)
Outfield: Thomas Graser (Jr. Augusta Prep)
Outfield: Braz Staples (Soph. Greenbrier)
DH: Michael Downing (Sr. Augusta Prep)
Utility: Peyton Jones (Jr. Lakeside)
Pitcher: Cole Pittman (Sr. Lakeside)
Pitcher: Collin Beasley (Sr. Harlem)
Evans: Kelvin McCladdie
Greenbrier: Davis Murray, Ty Snipes, Brett Lillis
Grovetown: Jose Noqueras
Harlem: Dalton Green, Owen Price
Lakeside: Cameron Johnson, Evan Krenz
Augusta Christian: Caleb Teske
Top Hitter: Chris Michals (Sr. Greenbrier)
The race for this award was led by Adam Sasser for much of the season, but his teammate, Chris Michals took his game to another level during the second half of the season. Through the first 18 games of the year, Michals had three homers and 15 RBI, which was terrific. However, what he did over the next 17 games (16 of which were post season contests) was almost hard to believe. The athletic senior, hit .475 with seven HR and 29 RBI in less than half the season. For the year, Michals was the County’s Triple Crown winner with a .410 batting average, 10 HR, and 44 RBI. He also scored 39 runs, and led the county with a .786 slugging percentage and 1.263 OPS. His 21 extra base hits were best in the county, too.
Player of the Year: Nick Sandlin (Jr. Greenbrier)
While there is no doubt Chris Michals was a playoff hero for the Pack, Sandlin was equally amazing in the state playoffs. Here is a look at his four starts in the state tournament.
Round One: complete game (6 IP) 4-hit, 1 run, 11 K’s / 0 walks
Round Two: complete game (7 IP) 2-hit shutout on 78 pitches, 9 K’s / 0 walks
Round Three: complete game (5 IP) 1-hit shutout on 56 pitches, 8 K’s / 0 walks
Round Four: Complete Game (6 IP) 3-hits, 1 run, 8 K’s / 3 Walks
That’s a 4-0 record with four complete games in four starts, 36 strikeouts versus just three walks, and just two runs allowed in 22 innings of work.
Sandlin, who began the year in Greenbrier’s bullpen, finished the year with a 13-0 mark and one save in 15 Appearances. He also posted a 1.44 ERA and 92 K’s in 72.2 innings. He allowed one run or less in 12 of his 15 appearances and only allowed more than four hits in a game once all year, and that was versus Class AAAAA State Champion Houston County (who Greenbrier beat 6-5). Sandlin also hit .358 with seven doubles, four triples, one HR, and 21 RBI at the plate. He was Region Player of the Year and was also tabbed as the Tudor’s Cleaners Player of the Year, which goes to the top player in the entire CSRA.
Coach of the Year: Jason Osborn (Greenbrier)
When you take over a program amid some controversy, in the midst of what many deemed to be a rebuilding year, and you have one pitcher back with varsity experience and you go to the State Final Four, you should expect some hardware to come your way. That is exactly what Jason Osborn did at Greenbrier. He had to replace a four-year starter behind the plate, two of his top three pitchers, and several college signees, but managed to handle that just fine. Greenbrier posted a 26-9 record. Those 26 wins marked the eighth time Greenbrier has won 26 games or more. They also dominated in county competition, going 11-0 in county, while outscoring their rivals 75-11. Osborn was named the Region Coach of the Year in 2-AAAAA and also was named the Advanced Services CSRA Coach of the Year.