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Busby, Hoover continue Columbia County's run of award winners

AthElite To Host Combine Event

Posted: April 4, 2015 - 11:07pm  |  Updated: April 4, 2015 - 11:29pm
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Photo by Jim Blaylock  Grovetown's Cameron Busby
Photo by Jim Blaylock Grovetown's Cameron Busby

The Peach Belt Conference is widely considered one of the top, if not the top, baseball conferences in D-II in the entire nation. Therefore, Peach Belt programs are able to bring in players from all over the country. Each week the conference hands out three awards, including “Freshman of the Week.”

With such a large talent pool, it would be difficult for even one state to garner over 50 percent of the winners, much less one county. However, that is exactly what Columbia County has done, thus far in 2015.

There have been nine weekly Freshman of the Week winners, and five of them played their prep careers right here, in Columbia County. The latest winners were Connor Hoover (Greenbrier, North Georgia University) on March 23 and Cameron Busby (Grovetown, Georgia College & State University) on March 30.

For Hoover it was his second time winning the honor, making him the only two-time winner of the award this season.

For the week, Hoover hit .438 over four games, including a 3-for-4, 2 RBI performance to open the week.

He followed that up by hitting .333 in a three-game sweep of perennial power USC-Aiken. During that series, he also scored five runs and played sparking defense at shortstop.

For the season, Hoover has been outstanding for the Nighthawks. He has started 28 of 29 games and is hitting .324 with 11 doubles, two homers, 21 RBI, and 28 runs scored.

His 11 doubles rank fifth in the entire conference, and he is third in assists with 97 and 10th with 22 base on balls. The patience at the plate has led to a sensational .446 on base percentage and is a key reason North Georgia is currently 22-7 overall and 14-4 in conference play. His stellar play on defense hasn’t hurt wither. Hoover has made only seven errors this season in 132 total chances and has turned a team best 14 double plays. There is no doubt, Hoover is a front runner for Peach Belt Freshman of the Year honors.

Busby, known more for his defense and hitting at Grovetown, was recruited as a pitcher at GC&SU. He led the Bobcats to a win last week with a stellar effort on the mound. He collected his first win of the year, scattering four hits over six innings and striking out five in a win over Barry University. He retired nine consecutive batters at one point, allowing the Bobcats to take control of the game.

For the season, Busby is 1-2 with a 4.40 ERA. He also has 26 strikeouts and just eight walks in a team high 43 innings. He has appeared in 11 games and made six starts on the mound this season.

One of Busby’s Bobcat Teammates is former Greenbrier standout Jake Sandlin. He is enjoying another outstanding year in Milledgeville. The junior outfielder is second on the team with a .361 batting average, 48 hits, and 32 runs scored. He leads the team in several other categories, including doubles (11), triples (3), HR (7), RBI (31), slugging (.647%), total bases (86), and stolen bases (8). Also, Sandlin, an outfielder, has yet to make an error this season through 31 games (58 total chances).

Here is a look at the Freshman of The Week winners in the Peach Belt Conference this season:

Feb. 3: Chris Michaels, (Greenbrier) Georgia Regents

Feb. 10: Connor Hoover, (Greenbrier) North Georgia

Feb. 17: Colin Dupree, Montevallo

Feb. 24: Chandler Corley, (Lakeside) Armstrong State

March 3: Alex Conaway, Lander

March 10: Bryce Evans, Flagler

March 17: Brandon Purcell, Georgia College & State

March 23: Connor Hoover, (Greenbrier) North Georgia

March 30: Cameron Busby, (Grovetown) Georgia College and State

For a single state to have five of the nine winners would be impressive, but for one county, it is truly amazing. I even had a former pro scout text me after Busby’s win this week. He was astonished that Columbia County had such a stranglehold on the award too.

AthElite To Host Combine Event

AthElite Sports Training Academy, owned by former Greenbrier standout Ryan Bowers, will be hosting a CSRA Youth Football Combine on Saturday April 18th at Evans idle School. The event is presented by Tax Slayer, Academy Sports & Outdoors, and Champion Orthopedics. At the combine, the athletes will be split into four different age groups (7-8, 9-10, 11-12, and 13-14 years of age) with two winners coming from each age group. One winner will be selected based on speed and agility, the other will be based on Strength and Power. The winners will receive Academy Sports Gift Cards and Trophies. Participants will be tested in several areas, including 20 yard dash, 20 yard shuttle, Broad Jump, 6 LB. Ball Press, and Obstacle Course, and 20 yard Sled Pull. They will also go through position drills and one-on-one work. Cost of the Combine is just $25 in advance or $30 the day of the event.

IF YOU GO

What: 2015 CSRA Youth Football Combine

When: Saturday, April 18

8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Ages: 7-14 years old

Location: Evans Middle School

Register: www.tinyurl.com/2015combine or call (762) 994-0137

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