Former Harlem High School standout Patrick Gamblin has been voted a team captain by his teammates on the Winthrop baseball team for the upcoming season.
The 5-foot-11, 180-pound junior started in 54 games a year ago. He hit .292 with three home runs and 25 RBI. He also led the team in doubles (17) and stolen bases (15). In addition, he scored 37 runs and posted an on-base percentage of .371.
When Gamblin signed with Winthrop, the coaching staff thought he would give them a lefty arm to use on the mound, but they found out quickly what people in Columbia County have known for years: Gamblin can hit. He was second on the team with a .359 batting average as a freshman and launched seven homers in only 117 at bats. That is a home run every 16.7 plate appearances. He also drove in 31 runs and had an on-base percentage of .403.
Like I said, the hitting came as no surprise to anyone that watched him at Harlem. He burst onto the high school scene as a sophomore in 2007 when he led the county with a .488 average.
The following year he “slipped” to .465. So, the fact that he is hitting at the Division I level is not a shock.
Last season, Winthrop posted wins over Notre Dame, Wake Forest and baseball power Coastal Carolina.
They will need to draw on that success this season since they play a very demanding schedule. They open their campaign vs. Georgia Tech on Feb. 17. They face Georgia for a three-game series in late February, and also square off with Oregon State, Arizona State, Clemson, Wake Forest and the University of North Carolina. On top of that, they play in a very solid Big South Conference.
Greenbrier product Mitchell Knox is also on the Winthrop squad. The talented 6-foot-5, 195-pound junior was 3-1 on the mound for the Eagles last season. He appeared in 23 games and posted an impressive 3.29 ERA. He walked just six batters in 38⅓ innings of work.
Former Knights seek baseball talent
Jason Combs and Richey Short were part of two state championship teams at Evans. Combs was a left fielder and Short was a pitcher from 1989-91 for the Knights. They helped lead the team to state crowns in 1989 and 1990. Now, the two lifelong friends are coaching a 10-under travel baseball team and are looking for players. The team is an experienced, successful USSSA team that has played together for three seasons.
If you have a young and talented baseball player and would like them to suit up for a solid team and play against the best competition in the South, contact Combs at (706) 564-1619.
Ex-Harlem star begins final season at ASU
Former Lady Bulldog standout Kacee Camp enters her senior campaign as one of the finest softball players to ever wear a uniform at Augusta State University. She began her career in 2009 by leading the Peach Belt Conference in hitting (.421). She also led the Jags that year in hits and home runs, and was named the Peach Belt Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year.
Last season, Camp was second on the team in batting (.367) and led the team with 26 stolen bases.
Other Columbia County products at ASU are Laura Brown (Evans), Heather Shivers (Evans resident who played at Thomson High) and Abi Medina (Grovetown).
ASU opens their season Feb. 10 vs. West Alabama in the Hughston Sports Clinic Classic in Columbus, Ga.