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Ashley Brown: Sasser, other Columbia County products start hot on the diamond

Posted: February 26, 2017 - 2:06am  |  Updated: March 1, 2017 - 7:07pm

The college baseball season is underway, and it did not take long for several players from Columbia County to show their skills. Leading the way is former Greenbrier star Adam Sasser.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pound first baseman helped guide the Pack to the state finals three times in his prep career, including a state title his senior season. Sasser burst onto the scene as a sophomore, leading the county in batting with a .406 average. He also hit five homers, drove in 38 runs, and went 5-1 on the mound. He followed that up by hitting .389 with seven dingers as a junior.

As a senior his average dipped to .319, but he blasted nine homers with 33 RBI and a clutch pitching effort to help his squad win the state crown. He signed to play at the University of Georgia, and last season as a freshman he was in a multi-player platoon at first base. He hit one homer and drove in eight runs in 55 at-bats (30 games played and 13 starts).

He also earned a reputation as a terrific defensive first baseman. Just before the start of this season, Sasser suffered a shoulder injury, but that did not hinder his start to the 2017 campaign. Through Georgia's first four games, Sasser is leading the team in almost every key offensive category. He is hitting .600 (6 for 10) with a double, two home runs, and three RBI. He has also reached base eight times in 12 plate appearances.

Here is a look at several other Columbia County players who are off to a solid start at the college level this season:

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Connor Hoover - Greenbrier (Jr., Infield, North Georgia): Hoover was the 2015 Peach Belt Conference Freshman of the Year when he hit .308 with three homers and 48 RBI, while playing stellar defense all season long. Last season, his average dipped to .265 but he hit four homers and drove in 25 runs. He also continued his fine work in the field.

Here is how the 5-10, 170-pound junior has started in 2017:

Games: 10 (Record of 7-3)

Batting Average: .488 (21 for 43) with five doubles, three triples, and three home runs. His 21 hits are good for second in the conference.

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Clint Hardy - Greenbrier (Sr., OF, Augusta University): Hardy originally signed with Western Kentucky, but transferred after his freshman season. The move was a smart one as he earned All-American honors at Augusta University as a sophomore that season. He hit .445 with 13 doubles, 49 runs scored, 11 stolen bases and a .740 slugging percentage. Last year Hardy hit .373 with seven home runs, 34 RBI, 54 runs scored, and 17 stolen bases. Based on his numbers so far this season, he is on his way to another spectacular season.

Games: 9 (Record 4-5)

Batting Average: .421 (16 for 38) with two doubles, three triples, and a pair of stolen bases. He is now 30 of 31 in stolen base attempts during his Augusta University career.

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Davis Murray - Greenbrier (Fr., Catcher, Augusta University): Murray was a three-year starter and two-time All-County performer for Greenbrier.

Games: 9 (Record 4-5)

Batting Average: .320 (8 for 25) 5 RBI

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Chandler Corley - Lakeside (Jr., Shortstop, Armstrong State): The former Panther has started 69 games in two seasons with the Pirates.

Last season he started all 50 games and hit .333 with nine doubles, four triples, four home runs, and 34 RBI.

Games: 12 (Record 10-2)

Batting Average: .364 with one HR, five stolen bases, 16 runs scored, and 21 RBI. He is second in the the conference in runs scored and RBI.

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Hunter Dollander (Evans), Hunter Hubbard (Lakeside) and Daniel Wiggins (Lakeside): All are now pitchers at USC Aiken.

This trio have appeared in a total of six games and have yet to give up an earned run. Dollander has been especially good. In 4.1 innings of work, he has struck out five batters while walking just one.

 

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