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Local ballplayers stand out in spotlight

Posted: June 30, 2012 - 11:15pm  |  Updated: July 2, 2012 - 9:48am

Columbia County baseball players in various stages of their careers were in the spotlight this past week.

At the professional level, Josh Whitaker had quite a day at the plate on Monday.

The Augusta Christian graduate and outfielder for the Class A Advanced Stockton Ports (Oakland Athletics) came up big. He hit a career-high three home runs while driving in seven as the Ports stormed by the San Jose Giants 15-4.

In 67 games thus far, Whitaker is hitting .268 with 11 homers and 34 RBI.

Collegiately, South Carolina University junior pitcher Nolan Belcher was in Omaha, Neb., with his Gamecocks teammates as they attempted to win their third consecutive Division I College World Series.

The Greenbrier grad entered as a relief pitcher in the eighth inning of Game 1, allowing a hit and striking out one in two-thirds of an inning of work in the Gamecocks’ loss. He was not used in Game 2 as Arizona won 5-1 to claim the title.

Belcher returned to the team in 2012 after missing the 2011 season with an injury. The lefty appeared in 19 games, notching a 4-2 record with two saves and 35 strikeouts in 29.2 innings of work.

High school seniors Garrett Wilkinson (Evans) and Lane Wallace (Lakeside) were joined by Evans sophomores Matt and Kyle Anderson and Raekwon Bennett at the 2012 Georgia Underclassmen Top 100 Wednesday through Friday.

The event put the players in front of college recruiters and professional scouts, along with other top high school players from Georgia. Wilkinson and Wallace showed their skills Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, at Marietta High School while the sophomores took their turn Friday at Mount Paran School in Kennesaw, Ga.

Wilkinson, Wallace and Kyle Anderson were 2012 Region 2-AAAA All-Region selectees, while Matt Anderson received honorable mention.

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