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Former Columbia County players making big mark in Peach Belt

Posted: February 17, 2013 - 12:09am

Former Lakeside High School ace Jeffrey Stoner is off to another great start this baseball season. The 6-4, 230-pound righthander, now a junior at Francis Marion University, was recently named the Peach Belt Conference Pitcher of the Week.

In two appearances last week for the Patriots, Stoner was sensational. He worked 14.2 innings with 18 strikeouts and zero walks. He also held opposing hitters to a .140 batting average. First, he worked 6.2 innings in relief in FMU’s 11-6 victory over Newberry on Feb. 6. Then he got the start four days later vs. St. Rose. Stoner was dominant once again. He allowed only four hits and one earned run in a 3-2 FMU win. He went eight innings in the game, struck out 10, and did not walk a batter.

For the season, Stoner leads the conference in inning pitched (16.2) and strikeouts (21). Stoner has yielded only one walk, which gives him an incredible strikeout-to-walk ratio of 21:1. He is 1-0 with a 1.62 ERA.

Stoner is not the only Columbia County product off to a torrid start in Peach Belt Conference baseball. Here is a look at several other players who are representing the county well.

Jeff Rice

Evans/Augusta State University

The junior infielder is leading the entire Peach Belt with an incredible .562 batting average. Through five games, Rice has three doubles and a .750 slugging percentage.

Hunter Boose

Greenbrier/Augusta State

Only a freshman, Boose has quickly made his presence felt for the Jags. Known primarily for his hitting during his prep career, Boose has settled in as ASU’s starting shortstop and in just six games he has already made several head-turning defensive plays. He is also tearing the cover off the ball, currently hitting .409 with four doubles and six runs scored.

Clayton Miller

Lakeside/Armstrong Atlantic State University

Miller is one of the standout catchers in the conference and is off to another great start for the 26th-ranked Pirates. He is hitting .421 with a pair of doubles and six runs scored. He has also thrown out the only runner who has tested his arm.

Ben Black


Black, a sophomore righthander, has appeared in two games for the Pacers. He has worked 4.2 innings with five strikeouts and no walks. He also has an impressive 1.93 ERA. His Pacers are currently ranked No. 5 in the nation.

Derek Beasley


Beasley is 1-0 in a pair of starts for the fifth-ranked Pacers. He has worked 8.1 innings with 10 strikeouts. The junior lefthander’s ERA is 5.40. He will be counted on heavily for a team that has a good chance to contend for a conference title in arguably the nation’s top baseball conference.

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Comments (2)


Ashley Brown; Columnist...NOT!

So tired of reading your predictable coverage of local talent. Are you ashamed to add home schoolers to the list? There are several local homeschooled players making a name for themselves in collegiate play but you wouldn't know it; your radar is stuck on old news. FYI, Kip Custer; Junior LH @ ASU off to a 2-0 start (check Augusta Chronicle article where he won the semi-final Peach Belt Tournament as a Freshman)...Nate Crown; Junior transfer with a mean bat & defense to match! Know Chad Cook; head coach for the Augusta Eagles Basketball team? He probably has the areas 2 best Guards hands down in Austin Crown and Jeff Miller...oh but you wouldn't know it because they didn't attend Evans, Greenbrier, Lakeside or Harlem. Check your buddies @ Augusta Chronicle; they know it. Maybe it's time for Scott Rouch to replace you with someone who know's the "local" talent!!!

Barry Paschal

Why the confrontational attitude?

Why the confrontational attitude, caddie39? You can't assume every writer knows everything. Ashley Brown does a fantastic job keeping up with seven Columbia County high schools for The News-Times, plus all the schools in the area and college and pro teams for his radio show. That's a pretty big plate, and you seem to be saying he's missed a couple of players intentionally. If you ever think he has a gap to fill, why not just pass along the information in a helpful manner rather than as an accusation? Wouldn't that be more appropriate?